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Coronavirus epidemic: Death toll rises to 9; details inside

Wednesday, January 22, 2020 • Tamil Comments

Following the outbreak of a new flu-like coronavirus in China, the death toll has risen to 9, with 440 confirmed cases.

The Chinese health officials have warned that the still-unidentified virus transmits via the respiratory tract and could mutate, further spreading the disease. They have discouraged public gatherings in Hubei province. Although it was earlier believed that the virus originated from the seafood market and could only spread from animals to humans, the authorities have now confirmed human to human transmission of the virus. Of the 440 reported cases, 258 of them have reportedly come up in Wuhan, the capital of Central China's Hubei province, alone. The first case outside China was reported in the USA's Washington on Tuesday. The SARS-like virus has spread to Thailand, South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan as well.

"Recently there has been a big change in the number of cases, which is related to our deepening our understanding of the disease, improving diagnostic methods and optimizing the distribution of diagnostic kits," National Health Commission vice-minister Li Bin stated. He further added, "At present, during the Lunar New Year, the rise in the mobility of the public has objectively increased the risk of the epidemic spreading and the difficulty of prevention and control."

What is coronavirus?

Coronavirus, that originated from the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan, affects the respiratory tract of the infected person. Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Symptoms:

Runny nose
Cough
Sore throat
Headache
Fever
Severe cases can reportedly cause pneumonia, bronchitis, kidney failure, and even death.

Treatment/Prevention:

A vaccine has not yet been developed to treat the virus. The WHO has, however, recommended simple precautions that can help in the prevention of the infection. Washing hands regularly, especially after visiting someone sick, covering the mouth while sneezing or coughing, avoiding close contact with anyone having the symptoms of respiratory illness, are some of the precautions.

Upon the insistence of the Health Ministry, the Civil Aviation ministry has directed seven airports including Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, and Kolkata to make arrangements for the screening of passengers arriving from China.

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