Amid the rising death toll due to the outbreak of Coronavirus, China's Hubei Health Commission on Thursday addressed a press conference on the control of the novel coronavirus as well as the supervision of cultural and travel markets. The panelists were from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism Department, Health Commission and the Respiratory Department. The experts informed that they are keeping an eye on animal sector, online food sector as well as the availability of masks and other medical aids.
Meanwhile, China closed off a city of more than 11 million people Thursday in an unprecedented effort to try to contain a deadly new viral illness that has sickened hundreds and spread to other cities and countries in the Lunar New Year travel rush.
The illnesses from a newly identified coronavirus first appeared last month in Wuhan, and the vast majority of mainland China’s 571 cases have been in the city. Other cases have been reported in Thailand, the United States, Japan, and South Korea. One case was confirmed Thursday in Hong Kong after one was earlier confirmed in Macao. Most cases outside China were people from Wuhan or who had recently travelled there.
A total of 17 people have died, all of them in and around Wuhan. Their average age was 73, with the oldest 89 and the youngest 48.
The significant increase in illnesses reported just this week come as millions of Chinese travel for the Lunar New Year, one of the world’s largest annual migrations of people. Analysts have predicted the reported cases will continue to multiply.
The first cases in the Wuhan outbreak were connected to people who worked at or visited a seafood market, which has since been closed for an investigation. Experts suspect the virus was first transmitted from wild animals but the virus also may be mutating. Mutations can make it deadlier or more contagious.
WHO plans another meeting of scientific experts Thursday on whether to declare the outbreak a global health emergency, which it defines as an “extraordinary event” that constitutes a risk to other countries and requires a coordinated international response.
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