For Immediate Release
Event highlights from 31 December 2019 to 20 January 2020:
On 31 December 2019, the WHO China Country Office was informed of cases of pneumonia unknown etiology (unknown cause) detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China. From 31 December 2019 through 3 January 2020, a total of 44 case-patients with pneumonia of unknown etiology were reported to WHO by the national authorities in China. During this reported period, the causal agent was not identified.
On 11 and 12 January 2020, WHO received further detailed information from the National Health Commission China that the outbreak is associated with exposures in one seafood market in Wuhan City.
The Chinese authorities identified a new type of coronavirus, which was isolated on 7 January 2020.
On 12 January 2020, China shared the genetic sequence of the novel coronavirus for countries to use in developing specific diagnostic kits.
On 13 January 2020, the Ministry of Public Health, Thailand reported the first imported case of lab-confirmed novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) from Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.
As of 20 January 2020, 282 confirmed cases of 2019-nCoV have been reported from four countries including China (278 cases), Thailand (2 cases), Japan (1 case) and the Republic of Korea (1 case);
Cases in Thailand, Japan and Republic of Korea were exported from Wuhan City, China;
Among the 278 cases confirmed in China, 258 cases were reported from Hubei Province, 14 from Guangdong Province, five from Beijing Municipality and one from Shanghai Municipality;
On 15 January 2020, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, Japan (MHLW) reported an imported case of laboratory-confirmed 2019-novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) from Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.
On 20 January 2020, National IHR Focal Point (NFP) for Republic of Korea reported the first case of novel coronavirus in the Republic of Korea.
Of the 278 confirmed cases, 51 cases are severely ill, 12 are in critical condition;
Six deaths have been reported from Wuhan City.
On 22 January 2020, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has announced that United States of America has its first confirmed imported case of the novel coronavirus infection.
On 23 January 2020, the Ministry of Health Singapore has confirmed one imported case of novel coronavirus infection.
So far no cases has been detected in Malaysia.
International travellers: practice usual precautions
While the cause of the pneumonia seems to be a novel coronavirus, transmission potential and modes of transmission remain unclear. Therefore, it would be prudent to reduce the general risk of acute respiratory infections while travelling in or from affected areas (currently Wuhan City) by:
avoiding close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections;
frequent hand-washing, especially after direct contact with ill people or their environment;
avoiding close contact with live or dead farm or wild animals;
travellers with symptoms of acute respiratory infection should practice cough etiquette (maintain distance, cover coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or clothing, and wash hands).
Health practitioners and public health authorities should provide to travellers information to reduce the general risk of acute respiratory infections, via travel health clinics, travel agencies, conveyance operators and at points of entry.
With the upcoming of Chinese New Year festive period, there will be a large migratory movements of population to their respective cities thereby raising a possibility of increase infection.
How to protect yourself from getting infected
World Health Organization’s standard recommendations for the general public to reduce exposure to and transmission of a range of illnesses are as follows, which include hand and respiratory hygiene, and safe food practices:
Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water;
When coughing and sneezing cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue – throw tissue away immediately and wash hands;
Avoid close contact with anyone who has fever and cough;
If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing seek medical care early and share previous travel history with your health care provider;
When visiting live markets in areas currently experiencing cases of novel coronavirus, avoid direct unprotected contact with live animals and surfaces in contact with animals;
The consumption of raw or undercooked animal products should be avoided. Raw meat, milk or animal organs should be handled with care, to avoid cross-contamination with uncooked foods, as per good food safety practices.
How to Protect Others
If you have cold-like symptoms, you can help protect others by doing the following
stay home while you are sick
avoid close contact with others
cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands
clean and disinfect objects and surfaces
There are no specific treatments for illnesses caused by human coronaviruses. Most people with common human coronavirus illness will recover on their own. However, you can do some things to relieve your symptoms
If you are mildly sick, you should
drink plenty of liquids
stay home and rest
***If you are concerned about your symptoms, you should see your healthcare provider.
23rd January 2020
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