#China; #SouthKorea; #MysteriosVirus; #ChineseAuthorities; #newCoronavirus; #SARS; #WHO
Beijing (China), Jan 20 (Canadian-Media): A third death from a mysterious virus and more than 130 new cases over the weekend, including ones found in Beijing and southern China for the first time were reported by the Chinese authorities, and one case was also reported in South Korea on Monday, media reports said.
Wuhan Coronavirus in China. Image credit: Facebook page of @wuhancoronavirus2020china
China's Public health officials, greatly concerned about both -- the transmission of virus, and spread of the disease -- ahead of China’s busiest travel season with hundreds of millions of people in China expected to travel for the Lunar New Year holiday, which starts Friday, are working to stop a major outbreak.
The total number of cases in China to around 200, more than double the number reported just a day earlier.
There is a growing among some experts that the outbreak could be more severe than China’s government has described. The virus has already spread outside China.
On Sunday, China’s central government reassured the public that the situation was under control.
Although Beijing’s National Health Commission said that experts agreed that an epidemic was “still preventable and controllable,” still, the commission acknowledged their worry about the source of the mysterious virus and its path of transmission could not be understood.
The mutation of the virus still needs to be closely monitored,” the statement said.
“If you cannot find the source and control the source of the virus, you cannot extinguish the fire,” said David Hui, the director of the Stanley Ho Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
Although Dr. Hui said the risk of the virus spreading from human to human appeared to be low, he noted that the virus could mutate.
The World Health Organization said on Sunday it would continue to examine the issue as it remained unclear whether it can easily spread from one person to another.
"We do not have enough evidence to evaluate the full extent of human-to-human transmission,” its Manila office said.
According to the latest information received and @WHO analysis, there is evidence of limited human-to-human transmission of #nCOV.
This is similar to other respiratory illnesses and in particular with other coronavirus outbreaks.
There are probably far more cases of the illness than disclosed by the authorities, some experts suggested.
There could now be as many as 1,700 cases of the new virus, one estimate by researchers at Imperial College London suggested on Friday.
The W.H.O. said on Sunday that there is a probability of more confirmed cases by China in the coming days and weeks as more people were screened for it.
The new virus is reminiscent of the SARS outbreak, which was also caused by a coronavirus. SARS, which probably jumped to humans from animals at markets, had its origin in China and spread to other countries, infecting more than 8,000 people causing death of more than 800.
While the new coronavirus appears to be less severe than SARS, public health officials around the world are exercising caution.
On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States announced that airports in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles would begin screening passengers from Wuhan for the virus.
“Until it becomes capable of human-to-human transmission, there’s not a major threat of a pandemic,” said Dr. Lipkin, the director of the Center for Infection and Immunity at the university’s Mailman School of Public Health.
“We need to prepare for the possibility that this could be a larger outbreak, and it could become a pandemic,” he said. “But that doesn’t mean that it will.”