British Columbia's health minister and provincial health officer say officials are closely monitoring an worldwide outbreak of respiratory illness linked to a novel coronavirus after a case was confirmed across the border in Washington state Tuesday. Authorities are particularly concerned about travellers arriving from Wuhan, the central eastern city where the virus appears to have originated.
Al Jazeera's Adrian Brown, reporting from Hong Kong, noted that China was being more transparent about the virus than it was at the time of the SARS, which ended up spreading to dozens of countries and killing some 800 people. Health officials still do not know much about the novel virus, but the CDC has activated its emergency response system as a result.
The World Health Organization on Wednesday delayed a decision on whether to declare a global health emergency - a rare instrument used only for the worst outbreaks.
Wuhan's special anti-virus command centre said the quarantine measures were meant to "effectively cut off the virus spread, resolutely curb the outbreak and guarantee the people's health and safety", according to state media.
Wuhan's move was praised by Ghebreyesus as a "very strong" measure that could minimize the risk of contagion.
Many countries are checking the temperatures of arriving airline passengers and adopting precautionary quarantine procedures in response to a new virus that has sickened almost 300 people and killed six in China.
People see a similarity with the SARS outbreak that infected over 8,000 people and killed around 775 in more than 35 countries worldwide in 2002-03.
However, the virus has already spread beyond the city to population centers including Beijing, Shanghai, Macau and Hong Kong.
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The most common symptoms are fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills, runny nose and tiredness. The health department said 2,000 to 3,000 MA residents have been hospitalized with the flu this season.
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CDC confirmed two cases among travelers returning to Washington state and IL from travels in the Wuhan region of China . Several provinces have been testing patients who meet the proper criteria, but so far, all tests have been negative.
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As of Friday, China's National Health Commission had confirmed 875 cases of coronavirus infection nationwide, with 26 deaths. Shanghai Disney Resort is temporarily closing to help prevent the spread of a new coronavirus outbreak .
Health officials are investigating the source of the illness in China, and whether it was spread to humans from animals.
News of the first case of the virus in the United States surfaced as officials studied growing evidence that the disease can be transmitted from person to person, although it is not clear how easily. All of the illnesses were of people from Wuhan or who recently traveled there.
Authorities made it mandatory to wear a mask in public places in the city. He will be there for at least two more days, hospital officials said.
National Health Commission vice-minister Li Bin told reporters in a Wednesday (January 22) press conference that the Wuhan coronavirus, also known as 2019-nCoV, has a "possibility of viral mutation and further spread of the disease", the AFP reported.
Initial symptoms of the new coronavirus include fever, cough, tightness of the chest and shortness of breath. "It sounds very scary". A handful of infected people who came from Wuhan have also been found overseas.
But companies with operations in China, from Foxconn 2317.TW to Huawei Technologies [HWT.UL] and HSBC Holdings, warned staff to avoid Wuhan and handed out masks. "The likelihood of case importation is highest in countries with the greatest volume of people traveling to and from Wuhan", the ECDC's director Andrea Ammon said in a statement.
Russian Federation strengthened its sanitary and quarantine controls, and Singapore and Saudi Arabia started screening all passengers from China.