The death toll from the ongoing coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak that originated in Wuhan (Hubei province) has risen to at least 170 people as of Thursday, January 30. According to health officials, at least 7783 cases have been confirmed worldwide and containment efforts are ongoing to prevent further spread of the virus. Approximately 93 percent of deaths were reported in Hubei province. According to media reports on Thursday, several countries have successfully evacuated their nationals from Hubei province, prioritizing those that are asymptomatic.
The World Health Organization's Emergency Committee is scheduled to reconvene on Thursday to discuss whether 2019-nCoV constitutes a global emergency.
Significant transportation and business disruptions are ongoing throughout China to contain the outbreak, as cases have been confirmed in every region. Wuhan remains under strict transportation restrictions to flights, trains and other public transport services. Further spread of the illness is to be expected over the near term.
The first case of 2019-nCoV was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan. Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
As of January 30, cases of the virus have been confirmed in 19 countries and territories outside of China and human-to-human transmission has been confirmed in Germany, Vietnam, and Japan. Virus screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Individuals in China, particularly Hubei province, are advised to monitor the situation, anticipate significant transportation and business disruptions, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments. Individuals are advised to take precautionary measures to reduce their risk of contracting the virus:
- Avoid all contact with animals (dead or alive); avoid eating animal products that are undercooked; avoid all markets where animals are sold
- Avoid all close contact with people displaying symptoms of the disease (e.g. difficulties breathing)
- Frequently wash hands and wear a face mask
- Individuals within China developing symptoms of pneumonia are advised to seek medical attention, avoid contact with other people, and wash hands regularly
- Adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities and their home governments
- Travelers returning from China developing symptoms of pneumonia are advised to call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to avoid spread of the disease