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29 Jan 2020 | 12:08 AM UTC

UAE: Health officials confirm first novel coronavirus case January 29

Ministry of Health officials announce first novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) case on January 29; further spread of the virus possible in the near term

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Event

The UAE's state news agency announced on Wednesday, January 29, that the Ministry of Health has confirmed the first case of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in the country. The individual reportedly traveled from Wuhan (Hubei province, China), where the virus originated.

Further spread of the 2019-nCoV in the region is possible in the near term.

Context

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. At least 132 people have died in China, and an estimated 6057 cases have been confirmed worldwide.

As of January 29, 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 and in Japan. Virus screening measures are being implemented at airports worldwide.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored 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.

Advice

Individuals who plan to travel to or have recently returned from China, particularly Hubei province, are advised to monitor the situation and anticipate additional security checks at the airport. 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, 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