On Thursday, January 30, the government announced that the first case of coronavirus (2019-nCoV) has been confirmed in Kerala state. The patient is a student at Wuhan University (Hubei province, China), and is currently quarantined in the hospital. Kerala authorities say they are holding over 800 people for observation as of Wednesday, January 29.
The Indian government is currently petitioning China for permission to land two flights in Wuhan to evacuate Indian nationals.
The World Health Organization's Emergency Committee is scheduled to reconvene on Thursday to discuss whether 2019-nCoV constitutes a global emergency. Further spread of the disease is possible 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 20 countries and territories outside of mainland 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 and Hong Kong, particularly those in Wuhan province, are advised to monitor the situation and anticipate additional security checks at airports and train stations. 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 undercooked animal products; 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 pneumonia symptoms 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 pneumonia symptoms are advised to call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to avoid spread of the disease.
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