Mon. Nov 30th, 2020

    Some experts believe that the new virus is not as dangerous as the Acute and Severe Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) of 2002-03 that killed almost 800 people, and the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (SROM or, for its acronym in English, MERS), which has killed more than 700 people since 2012.

    Preliminary research suggests that at the most recent stage of its evolution, the Wuhan virus was transmitted to humans through snakes China paralyzes 10 cities with the suspension of public transport, in an attempt to curb the spread by the coronavirus that has already killed 25 people and infected more than 800. The intensification of the measures also includes the closing of temples and the rapid construction of a new hospital to treat those infected, Reuters reports.

    The World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday declared the new coronavirus an emergency for China, but failed to declare an epidemic of international interest. Health authorities fear that the infection rate will accelerate during the Lunar New Year, when hundreds of millions of Chinese travel in and out of the country during the week-long vacations that began this Friday. As of Thursday, there were 830 confirmed cases and 25 people had died according to the National Health Commission.

    Most cases are in the city of Wuhan, in central China, where the virus is believed to have originated, in a market that illegally traded wild animals. Preliminary research suggests that at the most recent stage of its evolution, the Wuhan virus was transmitted to humans through snakes. Wuhan, a city of 11 million inhabitants, and neighboring Huanggang, with about 7 million, were practically isolated. The train stations were almost closed, there were few trains that stopped in the city, the flights were suspended and there were checkpoints on the main roads in and out of the town.

    Express hospital
    Wuhan is building a new 1,000-bed hospital to treat those infected, with the goal of having it ready by Monday, the official Changjiang newspaper reported today.
    
    Non-fatal cases have also been detected in Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the United States, which has led several airlines to suspend their flights to and from Wuhan.
    
    However, WHO said Thursday that it was "too early" to consider the outbreak as a public health emergency of international interest. Such a designation would have required countries to intensify the international response.
    
    The hitherto unknown virus, which has no cure and can be spread by air, has created alarm at the unknowns it presents. It is too early to know its danger and the ease with which it spreads.
    
    Vaccine development
    Symptoms of the disease include fever, shortness of breath and cough.
    
    Three research teams will begin work on the development of potential vaccines, said the Coalition for Innovations in Preparing for Epidemics. The plan is to have at least one possible vaccine in clinical trials by June.

    TC