Wuhan disease can spread between humans

Henrietta Brewer
January 15, 2020

On Tuesday, Maria Van Kerkhove, acting head of the World Health Organization's emerging diseases unit, said that the virus could have limited human-to-human transmission but spread fast.

According to China's official Xinhua News Agency, the female passenger arrived in Thailand on 8 January, where she was hospitalised.

The outbreak, which has killed one person, has caused alarm because of the link with SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), which killed 349 people in mainland China and another 299 in Hong Kong in 2002-2003.

A tourist in Thailand has become the first person outside China diagnosed with a new, pneumonia-like virus that has already infected dozens of people.

"Usually there are 1,200 arrivals from Wuhan in Thailand, which can go up to 1,500 to 1,600 during Lunar New Year, so we will increase personnel", Thai Disease Control Department Director Sophon Iamsirithaworn told Reuters on Wednesday.

Health officials have noted that many who contracted the virus are workers or visitors of Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, which sells fish and a variety of wild animals.

The health authorities in Hong Kong and experts were set to meet this morning after a government team returned from Wuhan, Chief Executive Carrie Lam said yesterday.

No human-to-human transmission of the virus behind the Wuhan outbreak has been confirmed so far, but the health commission said the possibility "cannot be excluded".

As it is the annual flu season, and with Chinese New Year approaching, she said preventive measures have been stepped up.

She echoed the assertion from Wuhan authorities that there remains no definitive evidence of human-to-human transmission.

According to RTHK, a group of Hong Kong TV reporters and their crews were taken to a police station in Wuhan after they took videos of the Huanan Seafood Market. There have since been no new cases or deaths, Wuhan health authorities said on Tuesday.

The National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg is now able to run tests to identify the family of coronaviruses, which may pick up this newly identified virus.

Other reports by iNewsToday