THE Ministry of Health and Social Services is yet to inform Namibians what its response plan to the rapidly spreading Coronavirus would be while scientists at the MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis in the United Kingdom warned that it may no longer be possible to contain the deadly virus.
According to the latest international media reports the virus has killed at least 41 people in the city of Wuhan where it was first discovered during December. It is estimated that 1 400 more people have been infected with the virus.
According to the BBC there 1 372 confirmed cases across China. Most of the infected people are reportedly concentrated in the provinces closest to Hubei in which the city of Wuhan is situated.
But the virus has already spread abroad with only a small number of people which at this stage is currently only affecting a small number of patients.
On Saturday, Australia confirmed its first four cases. The first was reported in Melbourne, and then three more cases in Sydney.
The deadly virus has also spread to Europe, with three cases confirmed in France.
According to the British media tests in the UK on 31 people have come back negative.
Government officials are trying to trace around 2 000 people who have recently flown to the UK from Hubei province.
China’s neighbours in Asia are on high alert, but cases were already reported in Thailand, Singapore, Japan, Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam, South Korea and Nepal.
There were also cases reported in the United States of America.
The President of China Xi Jinping warned the international community on Saturday that China was facing a grave situation as authorities took more drastic steps to halt the spread of the Coronavirus that is overwhelming hospitals at the epicentre of the health emergency.
In its scramble to contain the virus the world’s most populous nation built an emergency field hospital to treat the increasing number of cases and to relieve overwhelmed medical facilities. The construction of a second emergency hospital has already started and authorities in Wuhan said the facility will be completed in two weeks.
After more countries reported cases, President Xi said during Saturday’s Communist Party leadership meeting on the disease that the country will definitely be able to win the battle.
The country’s most important celebration, the Chinese New Year, has been all but cancelled for at least 56 million people as authorities expanded travel bans across central Hubei province to try and contain the spread of the virus.
The Chinese government has deployed 450 military medics to help treat patients in Hubei’s capital city, where a seafood and live animal market has been identified as the centre of the outbreak. Chinese authorities suspect the market conducted illegal transactions of wild animals was the source of the outbreak.
A coronavirus is a family of viruses which include the common cold, but this virus has never been seen before, so scientists called it 2019-nCov, for “novel coronavirus”.
This new virus causes severe acute respiratory infection. Symptoms starts with a fever, followed by a dry cough and then, after a week, lead to shortness of breath and some patients needing hospital treatment.
There is no specific cure or vaccine yet.