UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — The 2019-nCoV virus, which appeared in China late last year, continues to spread around the world, becoming an international emergency . By February 11, more than 42 thousand people were infected in two dozen countries, including Russia . More than a thousand people became victims of the disease.
What’s happening ?
On December 31, authorities in the Chinese city of Wuhan (the administrative center of Hubei Province) reported the spread of an unknown type of pneumonia. At that time, 27 cases of the disease were recorded. Most of them are connected with the city seafood market, which is now closed.
By February 11, 1017 people had died from pneumonia . The total number of infected has exceeded 42 thousand: the majority – in China. Other cases have also been reported — in Thailand, Japan, South Korea, the United States, Singapore, Vietnam, Nepal, Australia, Cambodia, Germany, Malaysia, France, the UAE, Finland, India, the Philippines, Italy, and Great Britain, Belgium and others. Initially, these were patients who came from China, but on January 29 in Japan recorded the first case of infection within the country.
Over a month, the prevalence exceeded the outbreak of SARS in 2002-2003. In this case, the peak of the disease, according to estimates of the State Committee for Health of China, will occur on February 13-17.
On January 30, WHO recognized an outbreak of pneumonia caused by the 2019-nCoV coronavirus as an international emergency. And qualified her as an epidemic with numerous foci.
On January 31, two infected Chinese citizens were identified in the Trans-Baikal Territory and the Tyumen Region. They have received medical assistance and are preparing for discharge. The Ministry of Health found it difficult to make forecasts on the development of the situation with a new type of coronavirus in Russia, but they are preparing for its possible large-scale distribution.
What is known about the symptoms and pathogen?
By January 9, Chinese epidemiologists had determined that a new type of coronavirus (2019-nCoV) had become the causative agent of the outbreak of pneumonia in Wuhan. One study showed that this is a hybrid of two coronaviruses that appeared about two years ago, but Greek geneticists refuted this theory.
The Wuhan Institute of Virology reported that the new coronavirus is 96% similar to the atypical pneumonia virus transmitted by bats. And one of the antibodies discovered during that epidemic can also affect a new virus. By February 7, Chinese scientists found that pangolins could be intermediate carriers – mammals living in Southeast Asia and Africa, close to armadillos and anteaters.
Key symptoms are fever and cough. Most people infected with the new coronavirus are men. According to Rospotrebnadzor, people of all ages are at risk of infection. However, as in the case of most other viral respiratory diseases, the risk of complications is especially high for children, the elderly (the age of the deceased is from 48 to 89 years), people with a weakened immune system and having chronic diseases, in particular respiratory system diseases.
On February 9, the PRC State Committee on Health Affairs announced that the virus-induced pneumonia was given the English name Novel coronavirus pneumonia or NCP.
How dangerous is the new virus?
By January 20, it was revealed that the 2019-nCoV virus was transmitted from person to person. The carrier can infect other people from a distance of two meters, including during the period when it itself has not yet manifested symptoms. The incubation period lasts an average of 10-14 days. The proportion of deaths in the total number of infected is 2.1%, which is significantly lower than with SARS. The proportion of cured patients is 8.2%, as of February 10.
There is no specific treatment for pneumonia caused by the new virus, the WHO noted, conventional antiviral agents are used. According to State Duma deputy Gennady Onishchenko, there are about 30 medications that work against 2019-nCoV. Chinese doctors say that treatment takes one to two weeks. In Thailand, the patient was cured with drugs against influenza and AIDS.
WHO expects further spread of coronavirus. RAS expert Sergei Netesov believes that it can be stopped within six months if you quickly develop and organize the use of diagnostic tools, as well as inform citizens. Hong Kong virologist Guan Yi suggested that the scale of the epidemic could be ten times greater than the outbreak of SARS.
What is the difference between coronavirus and influenza virus and how to diagnose it?
Rospotrebnadzor explains that diseases caused by coronavirus and influenza virus may have similar symptoms, but the viruses themselves are genetically completely different.
Influenza viruses multiply very quickly – symptoms appear two to three days after infection, and the coronavirus requires up to 14 days for this.
Rospotrebnadzor has developed two variants of diagnostic kits for determining the presence of coronavirus in the human body. Both diagnostic options are highly sensitive and can detect even single copies of viruses in the body, do not require blood sampling – they work with material taken from the nasopharynx and give a result in two to four hours. The equipment necessary for diagnostics is available at the Rospotrebnadzor laboratories throughout Russia.
What is being done to prevent the spread of the virus in Russia?
On January 30, Mikhail Mishustin signed an order to close the Russian border in the Far East; they will also close the border with Mongolia. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has suspended the issuance of electronic visas for the entry of Chinese citizens into Russia. On February 1, the authorities suspended flights with China, except for some Aeroflot flights, on February 2 – visa-free travel for Chinese tourists, and on February 3, railway communication with the DPRK was stopped.
The Russian government began the evacuation of Russian citizens from Hubei, where there were about 340 Russians. After evacuation, they were quarantined for two weeks.
Precautions have been taken at airports , train stations and ports. The products imported by visitors from the countries of Southeast Asia are also checked . An operational headquarters for monitoring the development of the situation has been created. A diagnostic test system has already been developed to detect a new type of coronavirus. In Moscow, hotels and places of mass stay of tourists have been taken under special control, and universities have been advised to extend their holidays to Chinese students until March 1. Magnit, Russia’s largest retailer, has suspended supplies of fruits and vegetables from China. However, the Ministry of Agriculture is not considering the possibility of limiting supplies from China.
The Russian Ministry of Health, together with Rospotrebnadzor, has compiled guidelines for doctors on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of coronavirus infection in adults. In the list of recommended drugs are Ribavirin, Lopinavir / Ritonavir and Recombinant Interferon Beta-1b. Roszdravnadzor has opened a hotline for receiving complaints regarding the lack of medical masks and drugs in pharmacies. Quarantine is not planned yet .
What measures are taken to prevent the spread of the virus in other countries?
Additional border controls have been adopted in India , Japan , Singapore , Thailand , Malaysia , South Korea , Canada , Serbia , Indonesia , Mongolia and other countries. Vietnam has stopped accepting tourists from China. DPRK, USA and New Zealand have banned the entry of foreigners from the territory of this country. Kazakhstan and Myanmar stopped issuing visas to the Chinese. Some foreign enterprises suspend operations in China. Airlines massively cancel flights. Some countries, including Russia, are evacuating their citizens from Hubei.
At the same time, WHO Director-General Tedros Adan Gebreyesus urged countries to refrain from taking measures that unreasonably restrict travel to China and trade with that country.
In the United States , China , France , Japan, South Korea and Russia , work has begun on a vaccine. In particular, two experimental vaccines are being developed in Novosibirsk , the prototypes of which should undergo the first studies in June. The head of the Russian Ministry of Health Mikhail Murashko said that the development of a vaccine against respiratory and other diseases caused by the new coronavirus can take at least 8-10 months. Chinese experts are conducting clinical trials of seven drugs .
On February 5, WHO called on the world community to allocate $ 675 million to combat the 2019-nCoV coronavirus. On February 11, the organization opened a two-day global forum on this topic.
What does china do?
A headquarters for the fight against coronavirus was established in Wuhan , nine special hospitals for patients were organized , an expert medical group appeared, and military doctors were involved . Closed city markets, a zoo , tightened control over animals and birds, introduced control over passenger traffic and a ban on the departure of organized groups of tourists to other regions. Since January 23 bus and water communication with the city has been suspended . In ten cities of Hubei province , public transport has stopped .
January 24 in some regions of China announced the highest level of response to a threat to public health. Some cities have partially limited interregional transport links. Many cultural sites were closed in Beijing , Hong Kong and Haikou , and large-scale public events were canceled . The country banned the trade in wild animals. The home matches of the Chinese teams of the Major Hockey League were moved to Russia, and the women’s basketball qualification tournament for the Olympics – to Serbia. Chinese immigration authorities recommended that Chinese citizens postpone trips abroad.
On February 7, the Chinese Communist Party initiated an investigation into a suspicion by the Wuhan authorities of ignoring doctors’ warnings about an outbreak of pneumonia caused by coronavirus. One of the doctors died on February 6.
The Chinese authorities allocated 66.74 billion yuan ($ 9.56 billion at the current exchange rate) to fight the coronavirus , about half have already been spent.
How to be the one who planned a trip to China?
On January 27, there were about 6 thousand Russian organized tourists in China . These are mainly Russians resting on Hainan Island, a popular winter resort. By February 3, travel companies took them to Russia.
After the appeal of the Federal Tourism Agency, some operators suspended the sale of tours to China, already purchased tours can be canceled or replaced. Ural Airlines , Azur Air and other airlines suspended flights to this country, S7 and Aeroflot offered passengers to exchange or return air tickets.
Rospotrebnadzor recommended that the Russians for the time being refrain from traveling to China. Otherwise, the following precautions should be observed:
Avoid traveling to Wuhan
Do not visit markets selling animals and seafood,
Do not go to zoos and animal events,
drink only bottled water, eat thermally processed food,
wash hands after visiting crowded places and before eating,
at the first signs of the disease, seek medical help, inform about the time and place of stay in China.
This article is written and prepared by our foreign editors writing for OBSERVATORY NEWS from different countries around the world – material edited and published by OBSERVATORY staff in our newsroom.
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