A recent outbreak of the Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in Wuhan, China is now thought to have taken the lives of six people and infected over three hundred.
The flu-like virus has been dubbed Disease X by scientists and is thought to belong to the same family of Corona viruses that cause Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
The latest outbreak will revive memories of the SARS virus in 2002, which infected around 9,000 people, killing a total of 774 across 37 Asian countries.
The virus which can be transmitted from human-to-human was first discovered late last year with the centre of the outbreak thought to be a seafood and livestock market in the City of Wuhan.
It is believed that the virus has already spread to neighbouring cities with a dozen new cases being reported in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Guangdong province in the south.
There have also been reports of a handful of people being infected in neighbouring Thailand, South Korea and Japan.
The rapid spread of the virus has become a major issue and has led the World Health Organisation (WHO) to consider declaring an international public health emergency as it did with the Ebola and the Swine Flu outbreaks.
A WHO spokesperson said, "The possibility of cases being identified in other countries was not unexpected and reinforces why WHO calls for ongoing active monitoring and preparedness in other countries".
On Monday, Chinese President Xi Jinping addressed the public for the first time about the outbreak stating that the virus would need to be “resolutely contained”.
Meanwhile, the country’s foreign ministry has said that China would be providing “timely information about the disease” and would “work with all parties to deal with the virus”.
Chinese authorities will be under close scrutiny, as they have a history of covering up such events. This was the case when they under-reported the number of people infected by the SARS outbreak downplaying the risks.
With Chinese New Year on 25 January, hundreds of millions of people are expected to travel domestically to visit family and friends, which will further increase the potential for the virus to spread throughout the country.
To try to combat the spread, authorities in Wuhan, which is a transport hub have been using temperature scanners at airports, bus and train stations. Those who are found to have a temperature are being registered, issued with a mask and taken to a nearby hospital for further assessment.
The latest strain of Coronavirus is one that has never been seen before. However, it is believed that scientists in New York, Texas and China have already begun work on a vaccine.
Could Spain be Affected by the Coronavirus?
As no Spanish airports are directly connected to Wuhan, the chances of the virus reaching Spain are said to be 'very low' according to a statement made by the country's health ministry on Tuesday.
"In accordance with the recommendations of the World Health Organization, no special sanitary measures have been taken with regard to travelers and there is no recommendation to restrict trade with or travel to China.
"Considering the small magnitude of the outbreak (the city of Wuhan has 11 million inhabitants) and controlsmade by the Chinese health authorities, the risk of introduction into our country in this moment is considered very low".
The Health Ministry recently updated the public with a statement with advice and guidance on the Coronavirus, which you can read here https://www.healthplanspain.com/blog/health-news/872-coronavirus-spains-health-ministry-updates-public-as-virus-spreads.html
September 20, 2023