Authorities in Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19), announced 196 new cases between Saturday, February 29, and Sunday, March 1. This is the lowest number of new cases in a day since late January. However, the province remains under a strict lockdown.
Meanwhile, authorities in five other provinces lowered their emergency response alert levels for COVID-19 as of Wednesday, February 26, following a consistent reduction in case rates. Sichuan, Jilin, and Xinjiang lowered their response level to level II (second-highest on a four-tier response system), while authorities in Inner Mongolia and Hainan Island reduced their response measures to level III. Several regions, including Fujian, have removed emergency roadblocks for screening vehicles.
As of Monday, March 2, officials have confirmed 80,026 cases of COVID-19 in mainland China, and at least 2912 associated fatalities. Significant transportation and business disruptions are expected to persist throughout China as authorities continue to attempt to contain the outbreak.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province). 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.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On February 28, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the risk of spread and the risk of impact of the virus is "very high" at the global level.
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.
To reduce the general risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide the following measures:
- 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.
- If you have fever, cough, and difficulty breathing seek medical care early and share previous travel history with your health care provider.
In the case that symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness emerge either during or after travel, individuals are encouraged to seek medical attention and share their travel history with their health care provider. Travelers returning from China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran who develop symptoms of pneumonia are advised to call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to avoid potential spread of the disease.