New SARS-Like Virus Outbreak In China, Nepal On Alert

New SARS-Like Virus Outbreak In China, Nepal On Alert

Jan. 18, 2020, 7:57 p.m.

At a time when Nepal daily received over two thousands Chinese tourists, the outbreak of SARS-like Virus can make a trouble to Nepal. However, health Ministry is yet to announce any contingency program.

Although Nepal is on alert, health officials are unprepared what to follow. Health experts hold the view that the government needs to take immediate preventive methods given Nepal’s growing exposure to Chinese tourists.

Officials at Ministry of Health are yet to come out program. Senior official of the ministry said they are closely monitoring the situation. They are yet to announce any measures.

A mysterious SARS-like virus has already killed two people in China is likely to be hundreds more than officially reported, researchers have said.

The news comes as Chinese health authorities said on Saturday that they have discovered four more cases of pneumonia following an outbreak of what is believed to be a new coronavirus strain.

The four individuals were diagnosed with pneumonia on Thursday and are in stable condition, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission said in a statement published shortly after midnight.

Saturday's statement marked the first confirmation of new cases by officials in nearly a week and came a day after the commission confirmed the death of a second patient.

Coronaviruses usually cause mild to moderate upper-respiratory tract illnesses, such as the common cold, but can also affect the lower-respiratory tract, causing pneumonia or bronchitis.

Chinese authorities said 45 people in the country had contracted the virus, with the outbreak centred around a seafood market in the central city of Wuhan, which is home to 11 million people.

But a paper published on Friday by scientists with the MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis at Imperial College London said the number of those affected in the city was likely to be considerably more than a thousand.

The scientists at the centre - which advises bodies including the World Health Organization (WHO) - said they estimated a "total of 1,723 cases" in Wuhan would have been infected as of January 12.

The researchers took the number of cases reported outside China so far - two in Thailand and one in Japan - to construe how many people were likely infected in Wuhan, based on international flight traffic data from the city's airport.

"For Wuhan to have exported three cases to other countries would imply there would have to be many more cases than have been reported," Professor Neil Ferguson, one of the authors of the report, told the BBC.

"I am substantially more concerned than I was a week ago," he said, adding, however, that it was "too early to be alarmist".

"People should be considering the possibility of substantial human-to-human transmission more seriously than they have so far," he added, saying it was "unlikely" that animal exposure was the main source of infection.

China has said that all cases so far have been restricted to Wuhan. Al Jazeera's Yu said at least eight people had been arrested in China for spreading rumours about the seriousness of the virus.

According to Aljazeera ,authorities in Hong Kong have stepped up detection measures, including rigorous temperature checkpoints for inbound travellers from the Chinese mainland.

The United States said from Friday it would begin screening flights arriving from Wuhan at San Francisco airport and New York's JFK airport - which both receive direct flights - as well as Los Angeles, where many flights connect.

"This is the stage of the investigation where we need to proceed cautiously and be prepared for any eventuality," said Dr Nancy Messonnier, an expert in respiratory diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US.

SARS originated in southern China in 2002 and infected more than 8,000 people in 37 countries before it was brought under control.

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