The Chinese zodiac, or shengxiao (/shnng-sshyao/ ‘born resembling’), is a repeating cycle of 12 years, with each year being represented by an animal and its reputed attributes. In order, the 12 Chinese horoscope animals are: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Pig. 2020 is a year of the Rat, well it was meant to be so. However, the most common term which has been associated with China this year is the Coronavirus.
The outbreak of a new coronavirus has sent shivers down the spines of travellers and health authorities around the world, after an outbreak in the Chinese city of Wuhan in Hubei has led to China taking considerable measures in order to effectively quarantine the city.
Fifty-six people have died from the coronavirus outbreak in China as the country’s leader described the accelerating spread of the disease a grave situation. The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in China is now at 1,975.
President Xi Jinping told a politburo meeting the country was facing a “grave situation” where the virus is “accelerating its spread”
The Chinese government has also reported five cases in Hong Kong, two in Macao and three in Taiwan. Small numbers of cases have been identified in South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Nepal, Australia, Malaysia and Canada. Canada declared that Toronto had identified its first coronavirus case on Saturday – a man in his 50s who recently returned from Wuhan.
France confirmed three cases on Friday, the first in Europe, and the US identified its second, a woman in Chicago who had returned from China.
Meanwhile, China said on Saturday that it would suspend all tour groups and the sale of flight and hotel packages for its citizens headed overseas, starting on Monday. This measure may come as welcome news to countries that have been gearing up to screen travelers from China for fevers and other signs of infection.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can cause respiratory illnesses such as the common cold, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Most people get infected with coronaviruses at one point in their lives, but symptoms are typically mild to moderate. In some cases, the viruses can cause lower-respiratory tract illnesses such as pneumonia and bronchitis.
These viruses are common amongst animals worldwide, but only a handful of them are known to affect humans. Rarely, coronaviruses can evolve and spread from animals to humans. This is what happened with the coronaviruses known as the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) and the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-Cov), both of which are known to cause more severe symptoms.
Since the virus first popped up in Wuhan in people who had visited a local seafood and animal market, officials could only say it likely hopped from an animal to humans. In a new study, however, researchers sequenced the genes of 2019-nCoV (as the virus is now called), and then they compared it with the genetic sequences of more than 200 coronaviruses that infect various animals around the world. Their results, detailed in the Journal of Medical Virology, suggested that 2019-nCoV likely originated in snakes.
Symptoms of the new coronavirus include fever, cough and difficulty breathing. These symptoms are similar to those caused by SARS, according to a recent study published in the journal The Lancet.
The WHO convened on Wednesday 22nd of January and Thursday 23rd January an Emergency Committee to determine if this outbreak should be categorised as a PHEIC (Public Health Emergency of International Concerns). It was decided that it is too early to declare a PHEIC, however, WHO called for all countries to have preparedness and response plans in place with a focus on early detection, testing, and isolation of cases.
The level of risk on this subject remains volatile in view of the rate with which this is spreading and the various elements it can affect. As such the developments need to be monitored closely.
Sources : LiveScience / News Agencies / Corporate Dispatch
This article appeared first on Diplomatique.Expert