China Quarantines City of 11 Million After Deadly Virus Spreads to US (Updated)
By John Vibes
UPDATE: More cities quarantined, Singapore reports its first case, and additional cases reported elsewhere. (Source)
A Chinese news bulletin that was first picked up in the U.S. by Financial Times reporter Gabriel Wildau has indicated that the city of Wuhan is now under a quarantine in response to the rapid spread of a deadly SARS-like virus called 2019-nCoV.
— gabriel wildau (@gabewildau) January 22, 2020
The infectious respiratory illness is a new strain of coronavirus that is causing a type of pneumonia. Some experts have compared it to SARS because it is also a coronavirus. Scientists have examined the genetic code of the new virus and have found that it is more closely related to SARS than any other human coronavirus.
The illness is said to have originated in a seafood market in Wuhan and quickly spread to other areas of China, then Japan, Thailand, South Korea, and the United States.
Soon after the first case was reported in the U.S., the Chinese government made the call to quarantine the city of Wuhan.
Wuhan’s 11 million residents will be trapped in the city until further notice unless they receive special permission to leave after an intense screening process.
While hundreds of cases have been officially reported, experts fear that there may actually be thousands who are infected by now. At least 17 people have died from the illness. Prior to the quarantine of Wuhan the government was actively censoring news about the outbreak. They also deleted social media posts that contradicted official statements on the matter.
In light of their mismanagement of the SARS outbreak in 2002 and 2003, China is under intense international scrutiny about the outbreak. The Chinese government was accused of attempting to cover up the severity of the SARS outbreak when it initially occurred.
Residents of the affected areas are being advised to avoid “unprotected” contact with live animals. They are also being advised to thoroughly cook meat and eggs as well as avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms.
An animal source seems the most likely primary source of this novel #coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak, with some limited human-to-human transmission occurring between close contacts. pic.twitter.com/L57VUr5d3z
— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) January 19, 2020