2019–20 Wuhan coronavirus outbreak 2019–20 Wuhan coronavirus outbreak - ImagesGram

2019–20 Wuhan coronavirus outbreak

An epidemic of 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is affecting mainland China, along with isolated cases in 27 other countries and territories. It was identified in Wuhan, the capital of China's Hubei province, after 41 people developed pneumonia without a clear cause (2019-nCoV acute respiratory disease). The virus, which can spread from person to person. Symptoms include fever, coughing and breathing difficulties. The incubation period (time from exposure to onset of symptoms) is generally 2 to 14 days,  but it may be contagious during this period and after recovery.  An estimate of the death rate in February 2020 was 2% of confirmed cases, higher among those who require admission to hospital. As of early February 2020, there is no vaccine and no specific treatment, although several vaccine approaches and antivirals are being investigated.

As of 12 February 2020, 45,207 cases have been confirmed (7,345 serious), including in every province-level division of China. A larger number of people may have been infected, but not detected (especially mild cases). 1,116 deaths have been attributed to the virus since the first confirmed death on 9 January, with 4,805 recoveries. The first local transmission outside China occurred in Vietnam between family members, while the first international transmission not involving family occurred in Germany on 22 January. The first death outside China was in the Philippines, where a man from Wuhan died on 1 February. As of 10 February 2020, the death toll had surpassed the SARS outbreak in 2003.

In China and around the world, public health authorities are trying to contain the spread of the outbreak. The government of China has introduced travel restrictions, quarantines, and outdoor restrictions – requiring families to stay at home – affecting over 170 million people. A number of countries have issued warnings against travel to Wuhan, Hubei, and China generally. Travelers who have visited Mainland China have been asked to monitor their health for at least two weeks.Anyone who suspects that they are carrying the virus is advised to wear a protective mask and seek medical advice by calling a doctor rather than directly visiting a clinic in person. 

Airports and train stations have implemented body temperature checks, health declarations and information signage in an attempt to identify carriers of the virus. Many Lunar New Year events and tourist attractions have been closed to prevent mass gatherings, including the Forbidden City in Beijing and traditional temple fairs. In 24 of China's 31 provinces, municipalities and regions, authorities extended the New Year's holiday to 10 February, instructing most workplaces not to re-open until that date. These regions represented 80% of the country's GDP and 90% of exports. Hong Kong raised its infectious disease response level to the highest and declared an emergency, closing schools until March and cancelling its New Year celebrations.

The outbreak has been declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) by the World Health Organization (WHO), based on the possible effects the virus could have if it spreads to countries with weaker healthcare systems. The declaration was the sixth time that the measure has been invoked since the H1N1 pandemic in 2009. Xenophobia and racism against people of Chinese and East Asian descent have arisen as a result of the outbreak, with fear and hostility occurring in several countries. Misinformation spread primarily online about the coronavirus has led the WHO to declare an "infodemic" on 2 February.