The World Health Organization (WHO) will decide on Wednesday whether the new Chinese coronavirus is a “public health emergency of international concern”.
The decision of the WHO comes at a time when China points out that the new discovered virus could be brought to mutate, what worries the scientific community since the virus is transmitted by respiratory way.
Over the weekend, the number of people infected with a new virus in China tripled.
The deputy minister of the national health commission, Li Bin, said that the virus had been diagnosed in 440 patients, adding to a previous count of around 300 cases.
China is counting on preventive measures to counter the virus. These include ventilation and disinfection at airports, stations and shopping malls.
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The epidemic of this coronavirus has spread from Wuhan to other major cities. But what exactly is it. Is it easy to contract it?
Your questions on the coronavirus addressed to BBC News have been selected and Michelle Roberts, editor in chief of the health section of BBC News online, has answered them.
Is it possible to get vaccinated to prevent this respiratory disease? – Hans Friedrich
For the moment, there is no vaccine that can protect people against this type of coronavirus.
It is a new strain that has never been seen in humans before, which means that doctors still have a lot to learn about it.
I am going to Beijing and Shanghai in February and I would like to know what precautions to take, if any, during my stay? – Matt
Based on the information currently available, the World Health Organization (WHO) has not recommended travel or trade restrictions.
You should check for the latest travel advice before you leave.
Is it possible that the virus has affected a person who has traveled to China in the past months, for example from October to December 2019? – Anonymous
The first human cases were identified in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019.
No other suspected human cases have been reported before that.
Given the type of virus, the incubation period (the time it takes for symptoms to appear after getting the infection) is several days, rather than several weeks.
It is not yet known how or when the virus became infectious to humans.
Experts believe that the first cases were transmitted by an animal.
Do UK airports plan to control arrivals? Two members of my family have lung and heart problems and relatives from China are arriving this week. – Anonymous
Currently, UK airports do not screen arriving passengers.
The government is monitoring the situation closely.
Additional controls, such as temperature scanners, have been put in place to monitor certain travelers elsewhere.
Airports in Singapore, Hong Kong and Tokyo have screened air passengers from Wuhan, and US officials announced similar measures last week at three major airports in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York.
A large number of people initially infected have already left hospitals. Does this mean that the virus is not so dangerous? – Anonymous
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more serious illnesses. It is not yet clear how serious this new coronavirus is.
If a patient has recovered from the infection, he should not pose a significant risk to others and may be discharged home after hospital, provided he is healthy enough.
What animal does the Corona virus come from? Against which animal can we protect ourselves? – Anonymous
It is not yet known how the virus was transmitted.
Other coronaviruses, such as Sars and Mers, came from cats and camels respectively.
Experts are struggling to find the source.
Standard recommendations for preventing infection apply. They understand :
regular hand washing
cover mouth and nose by coughing and sneezing
fully cooking meat and eggs
Avoid close contact with anyone with symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.
British agency board
In its advice to travelers, the National Network and Center for Travel Health (NaTHNaC) in the United Kingdom indicates that the risk of pneumonia due to the new coronavirus is low for travelers going to Wuhan, but that simple precautions, such as wash hands, should be taken.
NaTHNaC adds: “You should also avoid animals (live or dead), animal markets and animal products (such as uncooked meat).
“Consult a doctor if you experience respiratory symptoms within 14 days of your visit to Wuhan, informing your health department before your arrival of your recent trip to the city “.
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