This virus often appears with pneumonia-like symptoms including fever, chills, congestion, body-aches and a cough.
Health officials are most concerned about containing the virus, as it can spread between humans, and originated in a city of more than 11 million people. There have been some early comparisons to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), another coronavirus that originated in China. Tragically, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), 774 people died during the 2002-2003 SARS outbreak. Another 8,098 people worldwide became sick.
The outbreak began in Wuhan, China—a city of 11 million people—in December, 2019. Cases have also been reported in many provinces of China, Thailand, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, and now the UK.
Although this coronavirus originally spread from animals to humans, it’s been confirmed that this strain of the virus can now spread between humans.
Similar to the common cold, the coronavirus is spread via droplets when a person coughs or sneezes.
Steps are being taken to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. Hubei province, where the outbreak originated, is in effective lockdown, and numerous transport restrictions have been put in place by the Chinese government.
Foreign nationals continue to be evacuated, with subsequent quarantine procedures in place.
If person-to-person transmission remains limited, then rapid isolation of patients and infection control in health facilities may stop the spread, as was successfully done with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
Just as there is no treatment for the common cold, there are no specific treatments for the new coronaviruses.
The World Health Organisation declared the outbreak a global health emergency on January 30, 2020. The WHO is concerned the virus could spread to "countries with weaker health systems, and which are ill-prepared to deal with it."
In China Save the Children has teams in Beijing, Guangdong, Shanghai, Sichuan, Xinjiang, and Yunnan, and has delivered thousands of face masks to be distributed to health workers in Wuhan.
Hassan Saadi Noor, Asia Regional Director, Save the Children International, said: “The preventive and control measures taken to stop the further spread of the novel coronavirus in China demand a large amount of vital medical equipment, particularly for healthcare workers who are treating the sick and risk contracting the virus themselves.
"Save the Children has donated 36,000 face masks from our storage facility in Indonesia to hospitals in Wuhan via Hubei Charity Federation with support from local volunteers.
"Our teams in China and other parts of the world will continue to monitor the situation closely, and we are ready to contribute where we can.”
Dr Zaeem Haq, Global Medical Director, Save the Children, commented: “Save the Children has decades of experience responding to public health emergencies including disease outbreaks. We are closely monitoring the spread of the novel coronavirus and its potential impact on our staff and our operations, particularly in those countries where an outbreak could spread rapidly.
“For now, we are preparing for different scenarios with a focus on fragile states and ongoing emergencies, in close coordination with our regional offices in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. But things could change quickly and Save the Children will remain flexible and agile enough to respond where the need is greatest and we can provide the necessary support.”
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