(Updated – 13:21 – 28.01) According to CNN, 100 people have died and more than 4500 cases have been confirmed in mainland China as the Wuhan coronavirus continues to spread worldwide with more than fifty confirmed cases found in countries such as France, South Korea, Japan, Nepal, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, Taiwan, Australia, and the United States.
In China, nearly 60 million people have been affected by partial or full lockdowns.
What Is It? The Coronavirus is actually a large family of viruses which include severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).
What Are The Symptoms? Runny nose, cough, sore throat, and possibly a headache. People with a weakened immune system, particularly the young and the elderly, are at risk of the virus turning into a more serious respiratory tract illness.
How Did It Start and Who Is In Danger? Authorities have stated that the Wuhan coronavirus was passed from animals to humans, can be spread from person to person, and appears to cause pneumonia in those with a weakened immune system. It is also thought to bemilder than SARS or MERSand may take longer for symptoms to become evident. Patients to date have typically experienced a mild cough for a week followed by shortness of breath.
Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases has stated, “We need to be preparing as if this is a pandemic, but I continue to hope that it is not.”
According to China’s Health Minister, the virus can be spread before symptoms show. For this reason, Health Minister Adam Vojtech (ANO) told reporters this week that there are no plans to institute tighter security protocols at Václav Havel International Airport in Prague, though he added that the airport wants to “apply targeted screening of passengers with symptoms of the infection.” To that end, new signage is being placed throughout the airport in Czech, Chinese, and English and screenings are already taking place.
As of this morning, there are no confirmed cases of the virus in the Czech Republic, though a number of patients are currently under observation:
In the Moravian town of Kroměříž, one patient has been taken to the town hospital according to a report by the Czech News Agency on Monday. The man, who has recently returned from China, is being held in the infection ward and blood samples are currently being tested in a special lab.
Another suspected case has been reported in the Moravia-Silesia region There, a Chinese citizen who arrived in the Czech Republic 11 days ago, is being kept in home isolation.
Two more cases have been reported in the Opava region and one person is under observation in the Moravian town of Uherské Hradiště.
Two patients who had been tested in Prague and in České Budějovice have been confirmed to not have the virus and released.