Authorities in China say the mysterious SARS-like coronavirus has caused 2 deaths and at least 45 infections in China, but scientists warned that the actual number may be much larger since patients have been found in Thailand and Japan.
A paper published Friday by scientists with the MTC Center for Global Infectious Disease Analysis at Imperial College in London said the number of cases in the Wuhan city, the origin of the disease, was likely closer to 1,700, mainly based on the reports overseas in Thailand and Japan.
The virus is a new strain of coronavirus that humans can contract, which we don’t know much about but has caused alarm because of its connection to SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), which killed nearly 650 people across mainland China and Hong Kong in 2002-2003.
The US said from Friday it would begin screening flights arriving from Wuhan at San Francisco airport and New York’s JFK as these two airports receive direct flights. Los Angeles airport will also be under monitoring as it receives flight connections.
Calling for caution
A WHO doctor said it would not be surprising if there was “some limited human-to-human transmission, especially among families who have close contact with one another.”
Fears that the virus will spread are growing ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday, starting from Jan 24, when hundreds of millions of Chinese move around the country and many others host or visit extended family members living overseas or travel to other countries.
In order to protect yourself during the travel season, wear an anti-virus mask when you go out and stay away from crowded places. If you have symptoms of getting a cold or pneumonia, avoid contact to people and see your doctor for help ASAP.
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