Coronavirus UPDATE – 5,578 confirmed cases, 131 dead

We awake to the latest news today on the spread of the Coronavirus where 5,578 people are now confirmed as infected and undergoing treatment, and the death toll reaching 131. 125 of those deaths are isolated to Hubei Province in central China (graph below). The largest city of Hubei is Wuhan, the epicentre of the current outbreak which first came to light in mid-December last year.

Thailand’s health ministry has now confirmed 14 cases of coronavirus, the second-most of any country behind China. Dr. Suhum Kanchanapimai, the Public health permanent secretary, confirmed that five of the six confirmed cases were members of the same Chinese family who had travelled from Hubei province together. The sixth, also a Chinese tourist, came from Chongqing, south west of Hubei in central China.

Thailand’s health minister Anutin Charnvirakul yesterday stated that the Thai government is “not able to stop the spread” of coronavirus in the country, according to Sky News. The Thai government now estimates that around 22,000 tourists from Wuhan entered Thailand so far this month, possibly exposing vast numbers of people to the virus. But most of the detected patients are recovering from the virus and many have already gone home. There has been no reported deaths from the virus outside China.

Bangkok businesses are now attempting to combat the spread of the disease around the capital by placing thermal scanners at the entrances to shopping malls and assigning workers to give out disinfectant to visitors. Many Bangkokians are now resorting to wearing a face mask as they move around the city. But at this stage all but one of the cases have been Chinese visitors from Wuhan. The one Thai who has contracted the virus, and has since recovered, visited Wuhan at the start of January.

The coronavirus has now spread to over a dozen countries, including the US where the Centres for Disease Control has confirmed five cases and monitoring more than 100 others.

Meanwhile, China’s decision to control the spread of the coronavirus by quarantining entire cities in Hubei Province is raising logistical, ethical and medical issues. Some public health experts now contend that the massive quarantine operation, the first of its kind in modern medical history, could actually worsen the crisis.

In other recent epidemics, infected individuals would have been quarantined in their homes or in specialist hospital wards.

But pandemic experts make the case that the undertaking in China may be too massive, affecting the lives of more than 50 million people, mostly in 15 cities around Hubei Province. An estimated 5 million people had already left the Province by the time the travel bans were put into place last week. Sociologists also say the people who are left inside the contained cities would be likely frightened and undoubtedly desperate to protect themselves and their families. Health officials, international medical staff and police now – along with some 50 million people – are living inside a huge medical experiment.

Over in the US, health officials are working to prevent a further outbreak while developing treatments and preventative countermeasures. No vaccine exists at this stage as a prevention for the novel coronavirus.

Fifteen additional US airports are now screening for travellers who may might be infected. Officials say the purpose of expanding screenings from 5 up to 20 airports is to identify passengers returning from China that may be infected, and to educate travellers about symptoms of the coronavirus so that individuals can seek medical attention if they suspect they may be infected

Coronavirus UPDATE - 5,578 confirmed cases, 131 dead | News by Thaiger

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