China rules out SARS as cases of ‘mysterious viral pneumonia’ climbs to 59

Marje Pelayo   •   January 6, 2020   •   739

(FILE PHOTO) A medical worker takes the temperature of people entering Shanghai at the toll gate of the Huning Nanjing-Shanghai Huning expressway, 06 May 2003. Chinese police and medical workers help prevent SARS by stopping coaches and cars to ask passengers to take temperature and fill in Health Declaration. | EPA-EFE/SHEN YU

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 bans wildlife trade amid novel Coronavirus outbreak

Marje Pelayo   •   January 28, 2020

China on Saturday (January 26) has imposed a nationwide ban on the trade of wildlife until the outbreak of novel coronavirus is eliminated across the country.

This new restriction includes transport and trading of any form of wildlife, specifically in markets, supermarkets, restaurants, and e-commerce platforms.

Experts blame the country’s eating habits as the possible cause of the current epidemic.

China is known for its bizarre custom of eating wild and exotic animals ranging from peacocks, snakes, civet cats, wolves, rats, and bats which health experts consider as ‘incubators’ for viruses that may evolve or mutate and spread to humans often in unhygienic conditions.

These wild animals are also made available on online shops in China.

As of Monday (January 27), China’s National Health Commission (NHC) reported a total of 1975 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus with a death toll of 80.

So far, the outbreaks’ epicenter, Wuhan City, remains on lockdown along with 19 other cities across Central China.

Health authorities in Beijing, through a text message sent to mobile phone users in Wuhan City, urged people not to shake hands as the common Chinese greeting.

Instead, the public is advised to salute using a traditional cupped-hand gesture.

DOH: 11 patients under investigation for suspected novel coronavirus

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 27, 2020

The Department of Health (DOH) has confirmed that 11 patients are under investigation for suspected novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in the Philippines.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the 11 patients under investigation have a history of travel to Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the virus.

Based on the DOH, two of the 11 patients are in Metro Manila, one in MIMAROPA, three in Western Visayas, one in Eastern Visayas, three in Central Visayas and one in Northern Mindanao.

Duque said all the patients under investigation are being closely monitored. He also reiterated that there are still zero confirmed nCoV cases in the Philippines.

“There shouldn’t be any cause for alarm. Just because we flashed the areas where the PUIs come from, it doesn’t mean those areas are infected with the novel coronavirus, because there’s none. We keep harping the fact that there is none—still zero as of today,” he said.

DOH Epidemiology Bureau officer-in-charge Chito Avelino said the five-year-old patient in Cebu has already been discharged, while the others are already in the process of being released.

The DOH also reminds the public to practice good hygiene to prevent the risk of infection from any virus.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Hundreds of health workers deployed to Wuhan City as death toll from nCoV rises to 80

Marje Pelayo   •   January 27, 2020

CHINA – The National Health Commission (NHC) on Monday (January 27) confirmed the rise in number of deaths related to the novel coronavirus (nCoV) that originated in Wuhan City, Hubei province in Central China.

State-run China Global Television Network (CGTN) cited reports from NHC which stated that the death toll from nCoV has climbed to 80 and the number of confirmed cases to a total of 2,744 persons across the country.

According to the NHC, 461 of those infected are in serious condition, while 51 others have been discharged.

The NHC confirmed that the first batch of medical staff already entered Wuhan City.

As of Monday, a total of 956 medical personnel from different municipalities and provinces were deployed to ground zero in Wuhan City.

Among them were 128 medical staff from the Southern province of Guangzhou and 137 health workers from the northern province of Shanxi.

All were given prior training on how to properly wear protective gear and were oriented on the conditions of residents in the city.

Testing kits have been distributed to disease control centers across China.

Likewise, the Chinese government deployed seven teams of supervisors to key areas in the country to facilitate the situations in relation to the novel coronavirus.

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