The British government has issued new travel advice tonight in which British are flown back from nine countries to call NHS 111 if they even feel a little unwell.
Passengers arriving from mainland China, Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia or Macau must call the NHS 111 service.
It is amid increasing pressure on ministers to ban all travelers from coronavirus-stricken China after 16 countries, including the US, Australia, New Zealand and Saudi Arabia, took the firm action.
The government’s new opinion added that the nine countries had been identified “due to the amount of air travel from affected areas, understanding of other travel routes and the number of reported cases.”
Downing Street has been slammed for its “passive” response to the outbreak, with officials being torn apart because they were days behind other nations launching a mission to evacuate British expats trapped in Wuhan’s epicenter.
More than 560 people have died of the corona virus, which can be spread by coughing, sneezing and touching contaminated surfaces. Figures also show that nearly 30,000 cases have been registered in 28 countries and territories around the world.
Saudi Arabia has become the 16th nation to ban coronavirus-stricken travelers from entering the country
The coronavirus epidemic has so far claimed 566 lives and infected more than 28,000 people in 28 countries and territories around the world – but 99 percent of infections have occurred in China
Passengers from China are checked by employees of the Saudi Ministry of Health upon their arrival at King Khalid International Airport, in Riyadh
Dozens of travelers from China and other parts of Asia affected by coronavirus flock into Britain every day without being properly tested for the infection, giving rise to a total American-style ban.
Chief medical officer professor Chris Whitty announced this afternoon at a Department of Health press conference that number 10 will update travel advice later today, while the UK is likely to announce a ban on arrivals from China.
The briefing was announced following news about the third coronavirus case in Great Britain. Officials revealed that the unidentified patient flew to the UK from a country outside of China and had not been on the mainland at all. They are supposed to be British.
GPs will receive new NHS counseling in the coming days and tell them to be alert to patients with symptoms from other Asian countries – not just China. Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Japan and South Korea have all registered at least 20 cases.
People who come from other countries in Asia and feel sick should close themselves at home and call 111 right away – this advice was previously only applicable to people who had been to Wuhan. A full list of countries is expected this evening.
Ministers refused to reveal where the patient had contracted the SARS-like infection, and only said it was “elsewhere in Asia.” Sources say they were taken to the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton before being taken to a specialized London unit.
An improvised hospital in Wuhan has begun to accept patients infected with the corona virus
WHICH COUNTRIES ARE PROHIBITED TO ENTER PEOPLE?
The US has temporarily banned all non-US citizens who have been to China in the last two weeks from entering America.
Australia has banned access for Chinese travelers or foreign passengers who have been to China in the last 14 days or have even passed the mainland during a stopover.
New Zealand has closed its borders to foreigners arriving from China after 2 February, including passengers who are in transit.
Japan has banned access for anyone with corona virus symptoms and is not allowed to enter Wuhan travelers – even if they have no symptoms.
Mongolian citizens have until 6 February to return to their home country if they wish. Travelers from China – whether they are Chinese or not – are not allowed to enter the country.
North Korea was one of the first countries to completely close its borders to travelers and flights from China and to implement the measure on January 21.
Officials have suspended all forms of passenger travel to and from neighboring China. The country has also suspended the issuance of visas to Chinese citizens.
Authorities have decided to prohibit entry for all aliens who have visited China in the last two weeks.
Singapore has banned travelers who have been to mainland China in the last 14 days.
South Korea has banned all foreign travelers who have passed Wuhan in the last 14 days.
Authorities have banned all travelers from China, Hong Kong and Macau – except Filipino citizens and holders of permanent residence permits.
PAPUA NEW GUINEA
Papua New Guinea has closed its airports and seaports for all foreign travelers from Asia. The land border with West Papua is also closed.
Saudi Arabia has banned travelers from China who have been hit by coronavirus and are entering the country. The kingdom suggested it would tear up the passports of anyone who defied the ban.
Iraq has forbidden entry for all aliens traveling from China.
Guatemala has banned non-resident travelers who had been to China in the last two weeks.
TRINIDAD & TOBAGO
Trinidad and Tobago have banned non-resident travelers who have been to China in the last two weeks.
The US temporarily blocks access to foreign nationals, with the exception of close relatives of US citizens and permanent residents, who have traveled in China for the past 14 days.
Australia and New Zealand have imposed the same prohibition, while Japan is refusing entry to anyone traveling from Wuhan, whether or not they have symptoms.
Dozens of passengers fleeing the country affected by coronavirus enter Great Britain every day without being properly screened or tested for the virus, giving rise to a similar general travel ban.
But the UK is still expected to be bound by EU immigration laws and obliged to comply with all decisions regarding travel restrictions that have been taken by the bloc, despite technically leaving on January 31.
It is said that ministers are debating whether or not to impose the ban, but government sources say it is useless if Brussels does not follow the example.
Passengers were still able to enter Great Britain via another EU state due to the rules of free movement.
“What good is it if one of you forbids flights if none of the others do it?” told a high government source MailOnline Wednesday. “Because you just come in via an indirect route.”
Brexit party leader Nigel Farage said last night: “We can monitor flights from China landing in the UK, but we cannot monitor those from China in the rest of Europe. The free movement of the EU makes us more vulnerable. ”
It comes after the Chinese Ambassador to the UK, Liu Xiaoming, criticized the UK’s plea for all 30,000 mainland citizens to come home.
He said it was an exaggerated response and that the advice of the World Health Organization (WHO) was ignored.
Mr. Xiaoming said:[There] should not be a panic, not an overreaction. We advise the British side to seek professional advice from the WHO.
“They told us they will follow the WHO’s advice. It seems to me that the words do not match the actions.
“Life is still normal in most parts of China, so I say again in private and public. I hope the British government and the public have an objective, cold-blooded view of what’s going on. We must support each other instead of weakening the other’s efforts. “
Saudi Arabia’s national flagship, Saudia, had already joined other major airlines in suspending flights to China.
On Sunday, 10 Saudi students were evacuated from the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, and quarantined for two weeks upon arrival in Riyadh.
It is after British scientists claimed to have made a breakthrough in the race against time for a vaccine to protect millions against the murderous corona virus.
Infection specialist Professor Robin Shattock, of Imperial College London, unveiled his team plan to start experimenting with their experimental test on animals next week.
The team will then switch to people in the summer if they can get funding and that early tests are successful.
Researchers around the world are desperately trying to find a vaccine against the SARS-like infection, which can cause pneumonia.
The number of people infected with the corona virus has increased enormously since the end of January. The actual toll is expected to be considerably higher, as many may have such mild symptoms that they are never diagnosed
Leading statistician Dr. Brian Jarman predicted that the number of cases could rise to nearly 200,000 by the end of February if the outbreak continues as in recent weeks
The death toll increased by more than 70 overnight stays and brought the total number of deaths to 565 since January 20
Dr. Jarman said that thousands more people are expected to die in the outbreak before the month is over
A medical worker in East Java, Indonesia, is investigating an isolation room that can be used to contain people with the infectious corona virus
Patients infected with the coronavirus are pictured arriving at an improvised hospital in Wuhan, the Chinese city in the middle of the outbreak
Experts say that the problem of containing the corona virus is that so many patients have mild, cold-like symptoms and do not realize that they have the infection – but it can quickly kill
Today a flight with dozens of Australians from Wuhan has landed. Evacuees are quarantined for two weeks on Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean
WUHAN CORONAVIRUS: WHAT WE KNOW AGAIN
What is this virus?
The virus has been identified as a new type of corona virus. Coronaviruses are a large family of pathogens, most of which cause mild lung infections, such as the common cold.
But coronaviruses can also be deadly. SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, is caused by a corona virus and killed hundreds of people in China and Hong Kong in the early 2000s.
Can the Wuhan coronavirus kill?
Yes – 638 people have died so far after a positive test for the virus.
What are the symptoms?
Some people who get the Wuhan coronavirus have no symptoms at all, or only very mild ones such as sore throat or headache.
Others may suffer from fever, cough or breathing problems.
And a small proportion of patients will develop a serious infection that can damage the lungs or cause pneumonia, a life-threatening condition that causes swelling and fluid retention in the lungs.
How is it detected?
The genetic sequencing of the virus has been released by scientists in China and countries around the world have used this to make laboratory tests that must be performed to confirm an infection.
Delays in these tests, in test results and in people going to hospitals in China mean that the number of confirmed cases is expected to be only a fraction of the actual extent of the outbreak.
How did it start and spread?
The first cases identified were people connected to the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan.
Cases have since been identified throughout China and have been known to spread from person to person.
What do countries do to prevent spread?
Countries in Asia have stepped up airport surveillance. They include Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.
Australia and the US are also screening patients at high temperatures and the UK has announced that it will screen passengers returning from Wuhan.
Is it similar to something we’ve ever seen before?
Experts compared it to the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003. The epidemic started in South China and killed more than 700 people in mainland China, Hong Kong and elsewhere.
SCROLL DOWN TO SEE FULL Q&A OF MAILONLINE ON THE CORONAVIRUS
The current record time for producing a vaccine is for Zika, which required academics seven months to go from the laboratory to human testing.
Doctors are concerned that if it takes this time for so long, the nameless coronavirus might have wiped out the entire world.
Professor Shattock told Sky News that standard approaches to making a vaccine can take two to three years to come to the clinic.
But he added: ‘We have moved from that series to generating a candidate in the laboratory in 14 days.
“And we will have it in animal models early next week. We have followed that part briefly.
“The next phase will be to move that from early animal testing to the first human studies.”
The World Health Organization yesterday called on countries around the world to raise more than half a billion pounds to stop China’s corona virus.
Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, the organization’s director, held a conference yesterday calling for donations totaling £ 521 million ($ 675 million).
More than 28,000 people are now infected with the corona virus in China, as well as 260 in other countries, and 565 have died.
The money from the WHO will be used for ‘frontline efforts’ to help countries control the virus and to fund scientists trying to make a vaccine, and to help poor countries – possibly African countries – to prepare for possible infections.
Dr. Ghebreyesus’ collective call comes as a leading statistician in the UK predicts that another 3,000 people in China could die from the virus by the end of the month.
Dr. Brian Jarman, a retired professor from Imperial College London and former president of the British Medical Association, used statistics to predict how the outbreak could occur in the next three weeks.
He worked out how many new cases are diagnosed each day and the speed at which this increases, and then applied it as a formula for the next 22 days.
Dr. Jarman discovered that by the end of today, February 6, there could have been 31,810 fallen and 636 killed.
By February 13 this could amount to 67,409 cases and 1,304 deaths.
By 20 February, 116,444 cases and 2,214 deaths, and by 29 February, 199,230 cases and 3,741 deaths.
The calculations assume that the outbreak will continue to escalate at its current speed. He said that predicting farther ahead would be inaccurate in the same way because the virus would start to slow naturally.
Dr. Jarman told MailOnline: ‘I think it is very worrying both medically, because the infection seems to have a relatively long incubation period and therefore people are longer infectious before they realize they can have the disease, and financially because China is so important to the global economy . “
Britain’s third coronavirus patient was diagnosed in Brighton today – almost a week after a mother and son tested positive in York
It is thought that the third coronavirus patient was diagnosed in the Royal Sussex in Brighton (photo) after entering from outside of China
A neighbor claimed that they marched a young woman outside the building at 7.30 pm and loaded her into the back of the van
Doctors in full white protective suits and face masks were filmed while leaving an York home in an ambulance on Tuesday evening
What do we know about the Wuhan corona virus?
Revealed: the ‘shambolic’ reaction of the British government to the outbreak so far
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been accused of poor organization during the corona virus outbreak and of leaving British citizens behind in China to “take care of themselves.”
Emily Thornberry, Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary, said: “From the very beginning of this outbreak, the government reacted in a total mess and now they seem to tell British subjects in China to take care of themselves in terms of getting out of the country.
“How on earth has the Ministry of Foreign Affairs prepared plans and protocols for how these crises are managed?”
Her comment followed a whole series of shortcomings in the past two weeks, including:
Dragging his feet before he charters an airlift
When the epidemic started to spread at the end of January, the US, France and Japan all evacuated hundreds of civilians in chartered planes.
Spain, Portugal, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Australia and India have all announced plans to save expats before Britain did.
Only on January 30 was the first wave of British subjects flown home.
Only cancel two hours in advance before evacuating
When the vibrating government finally organized the airlift, it gave up the British just two hours in advance before they left.
This made it impossible for some citizens to arrive at the airport on time because Wuhan got stuck and public transport was forbidden.
Expats leave to find their own way to the airport
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not attempted to arrange buses or taxis to transport British citizens to Wuhan airport.
With the city completely closed, this allegedly made it impossible for Britons in the wider province of Hubei to take flight.
British subjects told them to leave their loved ones
Desperate expats were told that there were no guarantees that their Chinese partners or children would step into the rescue plane because Beijing prevented its own citizens from leaving.
Bus drivers did not wear masks
Coach riders who picked up the evacuated from RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire when they landed from Wuhan were photographed without protective equipment.
It came despite the highly contagious virus that it could spread through a simple cough or sneeze, or by living on inanimate objects such as door handles and chairs.
The photos were even more shocking because doctors were seen in complete hazmat suits right next to the bus drivers.
Hotel with first confirmed cases allowed to work normally
The first two patients who confirmed the corona virus in the UK were staying at the Staycity hotel in York.
The budget hotel said it was “left in the dark” by the government, which refused to tell whether its customers were indeed infected with the disease.
The hotel was instructed to ‘work normally’, but to keep the room where the patients remained locked and their belongings in it.
This meant that dozens of ignorant customers remained and touched door knobs, cutlery and countertops that may have been treated by the infected couple.
Someone infected with the Wuhan corona virus can spread it with just a simple cough or sneeze, scientists say.
It has now been confirmed that at least 566 people have died with the virus and more than 28,200 people have been infected in at least 28 countries and regions. But experts predict that the actual number of people with the disease can be 100,000 or even 350,000 in Wuhan alone, as they warn that in 100 cases it can kill as many as two. This is what we know so far:
What is the Wuhan corona virus?
A corona virus is a type of virus that can cause disease in animals and humans. Viruses break into cells in their host and use them to reproduce themselves and disrupt the normal functions of the body. Coronaviruses are named after the Latin word “corona”, which means crown, because they are enveloped by a pointed shell that looks like a royal crown.
The corona virus from Wuhan is one that has never been seen before this outbreak. It is currently called 2019-nCoV and has no more detailed name because so little is known about it.
Dr. Helena Maier of the Pirbright Institute said: “Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that infect a wide range of different types, including humans, cattle, pigs, chickens, dogs, cats, and wildlife.
“Until this new coronavirus was identified, there were only six different coronaviruses that are known to infect humans. Four of these cause a mild, common cold, but two new coronaviruses have emerged since 2002 that can infect people and lead to more serious illnesses (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) Coronaviruses) .
“Coronaviruses are known to occasionally jump from one species to another and that has happened in the case of SARS, MERS and the new coronavirus. The animal origin of the new coronavirus is not yet known. ”
The first human cases were publicly reported from the Chinese city of Wuhan, where around 11 million people live, after physicians first began to see infections on December 31.
On January 8, 59 suspected cases were reported and seven people were in critical condition. Tests were developed for the new virus and registered cases began to rise.
The first person died that week and on January 16, two were dead and 41 cases were confirmed. The next day, scientists predicted that 1,700 people were infected, possibly up to 7,000.
Only a week later there had been more than 800 confirmed cases and those same scientists estimate that around 4,000 – possibly 9,700 – had been infected in Wuhan alone. At that time, 26 people had died.
On January 27, more than 2,800 people were infected, 81 had died, and estimates of the total number of cases ranged from 100,000 to 350,000 in Wuhan alone.
On January 29, the number of deaths had risen to 132 and the number was more than 6,000.
Where does the virus come from?
Scientists say the virus almost certainly comes from bats. Coronaviruses generally tend to come from animals – the similar SARS and MERS viruses are thought to have originated in civet cats and camels, respectively.
The first cases of the virus in Wuhan came from people who visited or worked in a live animal market in the city, which has since been closed for investigation.
Although the market is officially a fish market, other dead and live animals were sold there, including wolves, salamanders, snakes, peacocks, porcupines and camel meat.
A study by the Wuhan Institute of Virology, published in February 2020 in the scientific journal Nature, showed that the genetic makeup virus samples found in patients in China are 96 percent comparable to a corona virus found in bats.
It is thought that the third coronavirus patient was diagnosed in the Royal Sussex in Brighton (photo) after entering from outside of China
There may have been an animal that acted as a middle human and picked it up from a bat before it was subsequently transferred to a human, researchers suggested, although details about this are less clear.
Dr. Michael Skinner, a virologist at Imperial College London, was not involved in the research, but said: “The discovery definitely explains the origins of nCoV in bats in China.
WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT THE THREE CORONAVIRUS CASES IN THE UK?
THE FIRST TWO CASES
A student from the University of York and his mother became the first two confirmed cases of the deadly corona virus on British soil when they were diagnosed on January 31. But neither is mentioned.
Health officials repeatedly refused to give details about the two cases, citing “patient confidential”, and raised questions about where and when they entered Britain.
But MailOnline later revealed the same day that the couple had stayed in a budget hotel in York.
Sources at the Staycity apart-hotel say that the couple – who had been taken away by paramedics on January 31 – never returned their suitcases, clothing or toiletries.
Their toiletries are thought to remain sealed in their room. Officials have already paid for a sterilization company to disinfect the room the couple was staying in, as well as the surrounding rooms. It is not clear if they are open again, but the £ 49 per night hotel is still active.
Sources then confirmed that both infected patients had been taken to quarantine at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle, one of the four specialized centers in the UK to treat infectious airborne infections. The patients are still being treated there.
The University of York confirmed that one of the patients was a student on 1 February. Hoping to dispel the fears, the infected student said he did not step on campus before or after catching the virus. It was later revealed that the second patient was his mother.
THE THIRD CASE
The patient is thought to have been diagnosed in Brighton and taken to a specialist infectious disease department in a London hospital where they will be kept isolated for at least two weeks.
Only four hospitals in England are equipped with these departments, two of which are in the capital – the Royal Free and Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust. The others are in Newcastle and Liverpool.
Public Health England said the patient did not contract the highly contagious disease in the UK, suggesting that they had recently returned from China. Officials have so far refused to provide more details about the patient.
But there have been no flights to the UK from Wuhan since January 22, when the Chinese authorities took the unprecedented decision to block the city and ground all flights to combat the outbreak.
London Gatwick, the closest airport to Brighton – just 27 miles (44 km) north of the seaside city, has direct flights from Shanghai, another Chinese city that has recorded cases of the killer virus.
“We still don’t know if another species served as an intermediate host to strengthen the virus, and possibly even to bring it to market, nor what species that host could have been.”
Until now, the deaths are fairly low. Why do health experts worry so much about it?
Experts say that the international community is worried about the virus because so little is known about it and it seems to be spreading fast.
It is similar to SARS, which has infected 8,000 people and killed nearly 800 in an outbreak in Asia in 2003, in the sense that it is a type of corona virus that infects people’s lungs.
Another cause for concern is that nobody has immunity to the virus because they have never encountered it before. This means that it may cause more damage than viruses we often encounter, such as the flu or a cold.
Dr. Peter Horby, professor at Oxford University, spoke during a briefing in January: “New viruses can spread through the population much faster than viruses circulating all the time because we have no immunity for them.
“Most seasonal flu viruses have a death rate of less than one in 1,000 people. Here we are talking about a virus for which we do not fully understand the severity spectrum, but it is possible that the mortality rate can go up to two percent. “
If the death rate is really two percent, it means that two out of every 100 patients who get it will die.
“My feeling is that it’s lower,” Dr. added. Horby. “We probably miss this iceberg of milder things. But that is the current condition in which we find ourselves.
“Two percent of the fatal cases are comparable to the Spanish flu pandemic in 1918, so it is a major concern worldwide.”
How does the virus spread?
The disease can spread between people, only through coughing and sneezing, making it a highly contagious infection. And it can also spread before someone has symptoms.
It is believed that it travels in the saliva and even through water in the eyes, therefore close contact, kissing and parts of cutlery or utensils are all risky.
It was originally thought that people would catch a market for live animals in the city of Wuhan. But soon cases occurred to people who had never been there, so doctors had to realize that it spread from person to person.
There is now evidence that it can spread the third hand – to someone from a person who has caught it from another person.
What does the virus do to you? What are the symptoms?
Once someone has contracted the virus, it can take two to 14 days for symptoms to appear, but they can still be contagious during this time.
Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, the Director General of the World Health Organization, said yesterday that he was concerned that some countries’ health systems were so poor that they could not detect cases of the virus if they appeared
Arrivals at Juanda International Airport in East Java, Indonesia, go through thermal screening points to check for signs of fever
If and when they get sick, typical symptoms are runny nose, cough, sore throat and fever (high temperature). De overgrote meerderheid van de patiënten – ten minste 97 procent op basis van beschikbare gegevens – zal hiervan herstellen zonder problemen of medische hulp.
WAAR HEEFT DE WUHAN CORONAVIRUS UITSPREIDING?
Bij een kleine groep patiënten, die vooral ouderen lijken te zijn of mensen met langdurige ziekten, kan dit leiden tot longontsteking. Longontsteking is een infectie waarbij de binnenkant van de longen opzwelt en zich met vloeistof vult. Het maakt het steeds moeilijker om te ademen en kan, als het niet wordt behandeld, fataal zijn en mensen stikken.
Wat hebben genetische tests over het virus onthuld?
Wetenschappers in China hebben de genetische sequenties van ongeveer 19 stammen van het virus geregistreerd en vrijgegeven aan experts over de hele wereld.
Hierdoor kunnen anderen ze bestuderen, tests ontwikkelen en mogelijk kijken naar de behandeling van de ziekte die ze veroorzaken.
Onderzoek heeft aangetoond dat het coronavirus niet veel veranderde – veranderen staat bekend als muteren – veel tijdens de vroege stadia van de verspreiding ervan.
Gao Fu, de directeur-generaal van China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention, zei gisteren echter dat het virus muteerde en zich aanpaste naarmate het zich door mensen verspreidde.
Dit betekent dat inspanningen om het virus te bestuderen en mogelijk te beheersen, extra moeilijk kunnen worden gemaakt, omdat het virus er telkens anders kan uitzien als wetenschappers het analyseren.
Meer onderzoek kan uitwijzen of het virus eerst een klein aantal mensen heeft geïnfecteerd en vervolgens verandert en zich daarvan verspreidt, of dat er verschillende versies van het virus zijn afkomstig van dieren die zich afzonderlijk hebben ontwikkeld.
Hoe gevaarlijk is het virus?
Het virus heeft tot nu toe 566 mensen gedood uit een totaal van ten minste 28.000 officieel bevestigde gevallen – een sterftecijfer van ongeveer twee procent. Dit is een vergelijkbaar sterftecijfer als de Spaanse griepuitbraak die in 1918 ongeveer 50 miljoen mensen heeft gedood.
Deskundigen zeggen echter dat het werkelijke aantal patiënten waarschijnlijk aanzienlijk hoger is en daarom het sterftecijfer aanzienlijk lager. Onderzoekers van het Imperial College London schatten dat er tot 18 januari alleen al in Wuhan 4.000 gevallen waren (tot 9.700) – officieel waren er tot nu toe slechts 444. Als gevallen in feite 100 keer vaker voorkomen dan de officiële cijfers, kan het virus veel minder gevaarlijk zijn dan momenteel wordt aangenomen.
Experts zeggen dat het waarschijnlijk is dat alleen de meest ernstig zieke patiënten hulp zoeken en daarom worden geregistreerd – de overgrote meerderheid zal alleen milde, koude-achtige symptomen hebben. Voor degenen wiens aandoeningen erger worden, bestaat het risico op longontsteking die de longen kan vernietigen en u kan doden.
Can the virus be cured?
The Wuhan coronavirus cannot currently be cured and it is proving difficult to contain.
Antibiotics do not work against viruses, so they are out of the question. Antiviral drugs can, but the process of understanding a virus then developing and producing drugs to treat it would take years and huge amounts of money.
No vaccine exists for the coronavirus yet and it’s not likely one will be developed in time to be of any use in this outbreak, for similar reasons to the above.
The National Institutes of Health in the US, and Baylor University in Waco, Texas, say they are working on a vaccine based on what they know about coronaviruses in general, using information from the SARS outbreak. But this may take a year or more to develop, according to Pharmaceutical Technology.
Currently, governments and health authorities are working to contain the virus and to care for patients who are sick and stop them infecting other people.
People who catch the illness are being quarantined in hospitals, where their symptoms can be treated and they will be away from the uninfected public.
And airports around the world are putting in place screening measures such as having doctors on-site, taking people’s temperatures to check for fevers and using thermal screening to spot those who might be ill (infection causes a raised temperature).
However, it can take weeks for symptoms to appear, so there is only a small likelihood that patients will be spotted up in an airport.
Is this outbreak an epidemic or a pandemic?
The outbreak is an epidemic, which is when a disease takes hold of one community such as a country or region.
Although it has spread to dozens of countries, the outbreak is not yet classed as a pandemic, which is defined by the World Health Organization as the ‘worldwide spread of a new disease’.
The head of WHO’s global infectious hazard preparedness, Dr Sylvie Briand, said: ‘Currently we are not in a pandemic. We are at the phase where it is an epidemic with multiple foci, and we try to extinguish the transmission in each of these foci,’ the Guardian reported.
She said that most cases outside of Hubei had been ‘spillover’ from the epicentre, so the disease wasn’t actually spreading actively around the world.