Authorities across the world step up measures to contain the spread of the newly found coronavirus
The newly found coronavirus, discovered in China, is not as strong as the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), which caused an epidemic that killed over 750 people in 2002-2003, but it proves to be more contagious, as it is able to spread even before any symptoms appear in patients, Chinese health officials announced on Sunday. The new disease, which emerged in Wuhan in December, has already contaminated thousands of people in China, and the death toll is rising by the day.
The Chinese officials are trying to ease away fears, explaining that whereas the death rate with SARS was around 10%, the rate for the new coronavirus is lower. There is no need to panic, but nor should people be careless: for the most part of the patients, the symptoms are benign and treatable, and many of the people who died over the past 2 months had been already suffering from other diseases and were over 65.
The symptoms include severe coughing, fever and breathing difficulties. Antibiotics and antiviral medication are useless. The patients must be hospitalized and may receive treatment for the internal organs, but recovery depends largely on the state of their immune system. For the time being there is no vaccine, but the virus strain has been isolated by Chinese researchers, which is the first step in creating a vaccine.
The countries having already confirmed coronavirus cases include Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Nepal, Australia, the USA, Canada and France.
In Romania, travelers coming from this geographic region are monitored. Alerts have been issued in Cluj (north-west), Timisoara (west), Constanta (south-east) and Bucharest, but by Monday noon they had been disconfirmed, according to a recently established inter-ministry committee for the monitoring and management of possible coronavirus infections, which includes experts from the Healthcare Ministry, Foreign Ministry, Interior Ministry and Transport Ministry.
Special measures are in place with respect to the 25 members of a traditional music group currently in Beijing, who are due to land in Bucharest’s Otopeni Airport on Tuesday afternoon. As regards other musicians, who were on a 40-day tour in China and have already returned to Romania, county healthcare authorities are checking on them on a daily basis.
Last week authorities decided to purchase thermal scanners for airports, to detect passengers whose body temperature is above 38 degrees Celsius. Fliers and billboards disseminate information, and permanent medical units are on duty in airports. Unfortunately, however, the Romanian authorities also have to deal, at the same time, with the common, seasonal flu, which is already making victims in the country.
(translated by: Ana-Maria Popescu)