Killer Coronavirus now in the US, Thailand, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan: Will it hit India or other Asian countries?

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The Coronavirus has now spread to five countries. Is India or other Asian countries ready for this?

  1. Coronavirus is still not being declared to be a notifiable disease.
  2. Anyone returning from China to India, if has symptoms, will not declare, take anti-histaminic and paracetamol and rush back to India. No one will tell that he or she is suffering from flu.
  3. Asymptomatic cases can not be picked up at the airport which may still be infectious. If they carry infection and visit India, they will bring the virus here.
  4. One symptomatic case will infect other travelers during the flight; all cannot be isolated.
  5. The government may announce that if someone develops flu-like symptoms on visiting the affected countries, his stay and expenses will be taken care by India if they get treated there.
  6. High degree of suspicion and awareness is required.
  7. We have been talking about N 95 being included in the list of essential drugs and being price-capped. It is still not being done. This would control both the problem of pollution and such infection threats.

I have also written to the PM in this regard.

About the spread

The Centers for Disease Control said the virus, which originated in China, had been diagnosed in a US resident who arrived in Seattle from China. The virus, which spread from the Chinese city of Wuhan, has infected almost 300 people, and six have died.

North Korea has temporarily closed its borders to foreign tourists in response to the threat.

The patient sought care at a medical facility in the state of Washington, where the patient was treated for the illness. Laboratory testing of a clinical specimen confirmed the diagnosis on January 20, the CDC statement continued.

The disease was first identified late last year, and the outbreak is believed to be linked to a seafood market that also sells live animals. Aside from the United States, two cases have been identified in Thailand, one in Japan, one in South Korea and one in Taiwan. All those infected had recently returned from Wuhan.

Authorities in several countries, including Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan have stepped up screening of air passengers from Wuhan. US authorities last week announced similar measures at airports in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York. They have now announced plans to introduce similar measures at airports in Chicago and Atlanta this week.

In Australia, a man who had traveled to Wuhan has been placed in isolation and is undergoing tests.

A report by the Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis at Imperial College, London, suggested there could be more than 1,700 infections. However, Gabriel Leung, the Dean of Medicine at the University of Hong Kong, put the figure closer to 1,300.

The virus, known also as 2019-nCoV, is understood to be a new strain of coronavirus that has not previously been identified in humans. Coronaviruses are a broad family of viruses, but only six (the new one would make it seven) are known to infect people.

Dr KK Aggarwal

President CMAAO, HCFI and Past National President IMA