Wuhan Pneumonia Cases In Beijing, Shenzhen & Shanghai Confirm Human-To-Human Transmission

We’re now one step closer to battling a ‘SARS-like epidemic‘ in our region. The Wuhan Pneumonia corona virus strain (2019-nCoV) – which has already racked up more than 200 cases & 3 deaths worldwide – can now spread via human-to-human transmission.

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Before you rush down to Guardian or Watsons to begin hoarding N95 masks, here’s all you need to know about the situation.

TL;DR, we don’t have to panic in Singapore – yet. But it’s still good to keep abreast of the situation around the Asia, especially if we’ll be travelling in the near future.

Human-to-human transmission confirmed by China

The novel corona virus (nCoV) strain was first detected in Wuhan’s wholesale seafood market in Dec 2019 – believed to have housed exotic animal innards – igniting fears of a SARS-like viral outbreak.

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But the spread was initially limited to those who caught it directly from the market. More on the origin of the virus here.

Although the wholesale seafood market has been shut for a month, China’s authorities have now confirmed that the virus can now be spread from human to human, explaining why new cases are on the rise.

Global patient count exceeds 200, with 3 fatalities

Over 200 cases have been detected in Wuhan & China’s 3 major cities – Beijing, Shenzhen & Shanghai.

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Experts have also warned that the Lunar New Year travel rush, involving millions of citizens going back to their hometowns could exacerbate the spread.

A human corona virus with a ‘crown’ of surface proteins
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3 Wuhan virus-linked deaths have health authorities around Asia & the world taking precautions to stop the virus from reaching their shores.

Despite their efforts, the strain has already been detected outside Wuhan, China.

Spreading fast but no confirmed cases in Singapore yet

Japan, Thailand, Korea are among countries that have confirmed cases of Wuhan pneumonia this January.

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Here’s a breakdown of the number of cases – both confirmed & suspected – in each city:

China & Hong Kong

  • Wuhan, China – 198 patients, 3 deaths
  • Guangdong, China – 14 patients
    • 14 confirmed cases of the virus
  • Beijing, China – 5 patients
    • 5 confirmed cases of the virus
  • Shanghai, China – 1 confirmed case

Asia

  • Kanagawa/Tokyo, Japan – Male Patient (30s)
  • Bangkok, Thailand – Female Patient (61), Female Patient (71)
    • Travelled to Wuhan/From Wuhan
    • 61-year-old patient recovered after quarantine & treatment
    • Treatment underway for 71-year-old patient
  • Seoul, Korea – Female Patient (35)
  • Singapore – 7 suspected cases
  • Vietnam – 2 suspected cases
    • Isolated 2 travellers from China as a precaution

Singapore isn’t home to any confirmed cases yet. However, with our interconnected airport and position as a well-travelled regional hub, it may only be a matter of time.

Take necessary precautions but no need to panic unduly

Our Ministry of Health has issued an official advisory on the outbreak, with calls for Singaporeans to practice strict hygiene daily. Here are some other tips they’ve mentioned:

  • Raw & undercooked meat shouldn’t be consumed if possible
  • Avoid close contact with those stricken by illness
  • See a health professional immediately if you display flu symptoms

Temperature screenings & quarantines at Changi Airport

All travellers from China who land in Changi Airport will also have to undergo temperature screening from 22 Jan onwards.

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An ongoing 2-week quarantine will also be extended to those who have been in Wuhan within 2 weeks of the outbreak.

Known symptoms of the Wuhan virus

Though the Wuhan corona virus hasn’t officially reached Singapore, this is what the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission says are the symptoms:

  • Flu symptoms
  • Fever
  • Abnormal lung lesions in chest X-rays
  • Difficulty breathing

We can all do our part to remind our loved ones to help limit the spread of any infectious diseases & seek proper medical attention, even if it doesn’t turn out to be the strain in question.

Stay vigilant & pray for the swift recovery of those affected

If you know of anyone travelling to affected regions in Asia – especially major cities in China or Hong Kong – do urge them to stay vigilant & avoid contact with those who may appear ill.

We also wish all the affected patients a swift recovery in the coming days.

Another SARS-like outbreak may sound scary, but we can combat any epidemic with a swift quarantine & treatment response to minimise casualties.

Featured image adapted from HealthLine & Global Covenant.