China rules out SARS as cases of ‘mysterious viral pneumonia’ climbs to 59
Marje Pelayo • January 6, 2020 • 1097
PHILIPPINES – Health authorities in China on Sunday (January 5) reported that the number of individuals infected by the so-called ‘mysterious viral pneumonia’ has already climbed to 59, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
China however, said that the viral disease is not the contagious, flu-like virus dubbed as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) that killed hundreds of people during an outbreak in 2002 to 2003.
Health authorities, likewise, clarified that the virus was neither the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) or avian influenza.
The said viral pneumonia, whose origin and cause still unknown, has infected workers at a fresh seafood market in the Central China city of Wuhan, in Hubei province.
The Wuhan Health Commission, as cited by the WHO, said all patients are being treated in quarantine and none have died so far.
Also, no obvious evidence of human-to-human transmission has been found so far, the Commission said, but investigations are ongoing to identify any other cases or contacts of the disease.
China’s supply of poultry and egg products is likely to be hit in the second and third quarters as the coronavirus outbreak has had a severe impact on the industry, agriculture ministry official Yang Zhenhai told a State Council briefing on Tuesday (February 18).
The world’s second-largest poultry producer, China had been ramping up output to fill a meat shortage after the African swine fever epidemic, which began in 2018, decimated its pig herd.
Poultry prices have plunged this year and restrictions on moving livestock and extended holidays in many areas have paralyzed the supply chain. Farmers have been left with large inventories of birds and eggs even as demand plunged as restaurants and canteens stay shut.
Yang said that since the coronavirus outbreak, which has led to more than 1,800 deaths, live poultry markets have been closed, transportation of baby poultry and live poultry has been curtailed and slaughterhouses have been shut down. (Reuters)
The latest data provided by China on people infected with coronavirus indicates a decline in new cases, but “every scenario is still on the table” in terms of the epidemic’s evolution, the World Health Organization said on Monday (February 17).
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news conference in Geneva that China’s detailed paper on more than 44,000 confirmed cases provided insight into the age range of infections, disease severity and mortality rates.
Asked whether the outbreak was a pandemic, Mike Ryan, head of WHO’s emergencies programme, said: “The real issue is whether we are seeing efficient community transmission outside of China, and at the present time, we are not observing that”.
WHO expert Sylvie Briand said the agency was working closely with Japanese authorities and the chief medical officer on the Diamond Princess docked off Yokohama on infections and evacuations, adding: “Our focus is on our public health objective that we contain the virus and not contain the people”. (Reuters)
The president of Wuhan’s Wuchang Hospital in central China’s Hubei Province, Liu Zhiming, died at the age of 51 from the novel coronavirus pneumonia, or COVID-19, on Tuesday.
Liu died at 10:54 despite all attempts made by medical staff to cure him, Wuhan Municipal Health Commission said in an online statement.
Wuchang Hospital was among the first designated to treat infections related to the epidemic. Liu had led the medical staff in the fight against the virus and had made important contributions in the city’s prevention and control efforts, according to the statement.
Chinese authorities said as of February 11, more than 1,700 medical workers have been infected and six have died. (Reuters)
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