A mysterious Sars-like virus has been spreading through China and Beijing. It’s been causing anxiety due to a possible outbreak as millions start travelling for the lunar New Year.
According to reports by authorities, there have been 139 cases of the new strain of coronavirus during the weekend. This has more than doubled the number of infected patients since its detection in Wuhan city last month.
Unfortunately, three people have died as a result and there have been three cases reported overseas-two in Thailand and one in Japan.
South Korea media stated that a woman who travelled from China was also tested positive for the virus.
The fear of an outbreak is rising because of the lunar New Year holiday when more than 400 million Chinese are expected to travel, both domestically and internationally.
What’s this Mysterious Sars-Like Virus?
This virus strain has been alarming due to its association to a severe acute respiratory syndrome or sars, which took the lives of almost 650 individuals across the mainland of China and Hong Kong in 2002-03.
According to the National Health Commission of China, they’ve sent working groups to provinces to monitor the prevention of an outbreak and described the situation as ‘controllable’.
Zhejiang, Beijing, and Shanghai hospitals have strengthened exam procedures and in Shenzhen, there have been temperature checks set up in airports, railway stations, and ports.
More than 100 patients with symptoms were waiting in Xiehe hospital in Wuhan today.
A hospital worker said that the wait period is between 3 and 4 hours.
In a hospital in Beijing at Chaoyang district, patients were given masks and forms to fill out and recent Wuhan travels.
Preventive measures are also being taken to keep doctors safe.
How Is the Virus Transmitted?
The coronaviruses are transmitted between people and animals and the Wuhan outbreak has been associated with a seafood market which reportedly sold live animals.
The market is now closed.
The authorities don’t have proof that the virus has spread from human to human.
But, for Xi Chen, assistant professor at Yale School of Public Health, the chance for human to human transmission is high due to the large number of confirmed cases.
He claims that it’s difficult seeing that all these cases are from the animals at the same market.
He also believes that not all cases have been reported and that the high cost of the diagnosis tests may have led to underreporting.