#Decryption – Coronavirus: The new challenge to global health

On January 7th, Chinese authorities confirmed the circulation of a new coronavirus which started at Wuhan Hubei Province of China, that later would be named “2019-nCoV”. From the last results, we know that it has spread all over the 4 continents with cases in countries such as the United States, France, Australia and many others with high levels of cases under investigation.

What is exactly the Coronavirus? 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the Coronavirus is ‘a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from common cold to severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome’

The WHO said that previously the coronavirus was transmitted between animals and humans only. However, China’s National Health Commission confirmed that the 2019-nCoV can be transmitted between humans. The 2019-nCoV outbreak isn’t considered a pandemic but more an epidemic and the WHO has refused to call an international health emergency.

The outbreak in China’s Wuhan city and their current situation 

On December 2019 China’s authorities informed the World Health Organization (WHO) about an outbreak of “pneumonia of unknown cause” that later would be confirmed to be the novel coronavirus. The virus started in the city of Wuhan, Hubei, more precisely in a wet Seafood market that has been banned since January 22.  The University of Hong Kong warned the higher spreading of the virus and how important it is to the government to implement drastic measures in order to prevent the increase of the infected number of cases. The dean of the university’s medical school, Gabriel Leung, said that is believed that the number of people getting infected with the virus is doubling every 6 days.  Dr. Leung even suggested measures to limit the population mobility.

Source: AFP

 In fact, the Government of China quarantined the city population of Wuhan (11,08 million people)  on January 23 where neither plane, train nor cars is allowed to leave or enter the city. The use of the mask is obligatory, but that’s not it, since this day  the quarantine has expanded to 13 cities and 41 million people are affected by the quarantine. It’s like the entire country of Canada was in quarantine.

How the world is dealing with the virus  

After the outbreak of the virus in more cities of China including Beijing and Shanghai, the WHO called the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee regarding the outbreak of the novel coronavirus that took place on January 23. In this meeting the WHO confirmed the severity of the virus but refused to call a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). The last PHEIC was on July 2019 for the Kivu Ebola epidemic which began in 2018.

Source: AFP

Countries all over the world are taking measures to detect cases and preventing measures to stop the spreading of the virus. Airports, for example, are under strict prevention measures and scientists are working together to find a solution to the virus. China’s first concern is to prevent the spreading and to treat the infected people, and in order do so, they are taking really important measures such as quarantined cities. The Chinese government has even ordered the construction of a new hospital in Wuhan to receive almost 1,000 patients. The hospital is expected to be finish on February 3. Other countries like France and the United States have made everything possible for their citizens in Wuhan to return to their countries. The WHO is engaged to give all his technological and operational support to the Chinese authorities to stop the fast spreading of the virus.

What is next? 

In their last report on January 26, the WHO confirmed that the number of cases of the novel coronavirus has increased by 694 since January 23 and a total of 2,014 confirmed cases have been reported globally. 4583 of them were reported in China, and 106 deaths have been reported to this day.  This virus epidemic is devastating not only in medical terms, but also in economic terms as far as tourism is concerned and it can represent significant losses worldwide. The Republic of China had to cancel their annual celebration of the Chinese New Year to prevent more infected cases and even Disneyland closed their doors to the public.

The work of the scientists, governments and the WHO are crucial to prevent the spreading of the virus all over the world, so that it doesn’t continue to have devastating effects. If we don’t take the necessary measures, some people and scientists think that this could be the beginning of a pandemic that let us into the interrogative if the world is ready to face one. We need to be really careful and take all the advices the WHO has gave to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and to fake news that all they do is to spread fear and panic in the world. 


Ivana Garcia  

Press Team 

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