The novel lung disease – triggered by a coronavirus – has in China cost more lives and has now been confirmed with a first case in Taiwan. As the health authority of the Chinese metropolis Wuhan announced, six deaths have now been confirmed. In addition, the National Health Commission announced 77 new infections on Tuesday alone. The Chinese authorities have registered 291 cases since the onset of the respiratory disease in December.
Accordingly, the new type of corona virus
for the first time at a fish and poultry market in
Wuhan occurred. In fact, there are most in the city
registered sufferers. However, the virus can now also be found in
other provinces, such as in Guangdong, Sichuan and Yunnan, as well as in the cities of Beijing and Shanghai. Around 900 people stand across the country because of a possible one infection under observation.
In addition to Taiwan, evidence from Thailand, Japan and South Korea was also provided
known. People who were previously in China were always affected. One suspected case is currently being investigated in Australia and one in the Philippines.
Memories of Sars epidemic
The fear of a rapid spread of the virusafter the Chinese authorities confirmed on Monday that the virus can be transmitted from person to person. Currently, millions of people are going to visit relatives and friends in China to celebrate the upcoming New Year. The World Health Organization (WHO) convened its emergency committee this Wednesday. If it declares an international health emergency, further measures to combat the disease could be initiated. This also includes border controls and the establishment of specialized treatment centers.
The disease brings back memories of severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars), which originates from the same virus family and also originated in China. Almost 800 people worldwide died from the Sars epidemic in 2002 and 2003. Just like back then, those now suffering complain of fever and breathing problems. However, these symptoms – including pneumonia – also occur in other respiratory diseases, so further investigations are necessary.
Regardless of the now confirmed human-to-human transmission, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) still considers the danger to Germany to be low. According to a spokesman, there is currently no evidence that the virus is simply transmitted like a flu. This is now happening in very specific exceptional cases.
"German health system well equipped for this"
At the Charité in Berlin – the largest German hospital – preparations are being made for the first possible patients. The virologist Christian Drosten told Deutschlandfunk that "all test systems had already been started up in order to be able to quickly detect an infection if necessary." "We have to expect that we will get cases to Germany, and
we need to prepare for it across the healthcare system, "said the expert.
According to Drosten, health authorities have to take the novel virus "very seriously". "The whole picture is now more like the Sars epidemic at the time," he said. The human-to-human transferability now proven for the new virus makes it more dangerous.
The virologist believes the health system in Germany is well equipped. There are "very good structures" in Germany to avoid epidemics, such as a national pandemic plan and very good coordination of protection and control measures by the Robert Koch Institute. "I also don't think that as a citizen you have to worry about your own health," said Drosten.