China reports more than 400 coronavirus infections, nine dead

The number of infections with the new corona virus in China has risen to 440. Nine people have died so far, the Chinese authorities report.

All patients who succumbed are from Hubei province. There lies the metropolis of Wuhan, where the first infections with the new virus occurred at the end of December. The variant of the corona virus is said to have its origins in a fish market where trafficking was illegal. Residents of Wuhan are called upon not to leave their place of residence in order to reduce the chance of the virus spreading.

The virus has also emerged in Beijing, Shanghai and Macau. Outside of China, infections have been reported in Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Thailand and the US.

All of China is now advised to avoid densely populated areas. It is precisely in this period that millions of people are traveling because of the Chinese New Year.

The virus seems to mutate quickly, but the Chinese acknowledge that they do not yet have a clear picture of how it develops. Whether it can have an impact comparable to, for example, the SARS epidemic in 2003 is still unclear. SARS is also caused by the corona virus.

Additional measures have been taken to protect Chinese health workers against the virus.

The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) is meeting today in Geneva for emergency consultations on the outbreak. The WHO must determine whether there is a ‘medical emergency of international care’. If this is the case, there must be an international approach to the problem, such as the zika virus and the Ebola outbreak.

The purpose of the emergency consultation is to make an inventory of what is now known about the disease, says Jaap van Dissel, head of infectious disease control at RIVM in the NOS Radio 1 Journal. In addition, it is a way to prioritize the outbreak and release funds for the fight.

Van Dissel:

“A committee of experts will look at how serious the disease is. Is it transmitted in a certain way, for example from person to person? There are indications for that, but then it still depends on how efficiently that happens. All that factors are weighed and the car’s warning light is checked. “

With what is now known, the disease does not seem very contagious, says van Dissel.

“If you have been following that outbreak for a month and see that very few people have actually ended up in hospitals and not many family members have fallen ill, then you expect that the disease is not easily transmitted.”

Yet such a virus can also adapt, according to Van Dissel.

“At the moment we are still early in the outbreak. That means that you have to prepare for the worst case and hope that it all turns out better than expected. That WHO meeting fits in. It simply means: People be alert.”

The RIVM takes into account that the virus is also spreading in the Netherlands.

“Just like in Japan and the US, someone from China can come to the Netherlands, get sick here and eventually have a relationship with Wuhan.”

Erasmus MC and RIVM have tests that can be used to determine with certainty whether someone has the virus. “And of course we have protocols in the Netherlands for what we have to do to take care of someone who has complaints of this virus.”

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