Sunday, 09 August, 2020


Experts warn over scale of China virus as US airports start screening

Experts warn over scale of China virus as US airports start screening Experts warn over scale of China virus as US airports start screening
Patty Aguilar | 19 January, 2020, 03:24

Some experts have questioned whether there might be more cases in Wuhan than reported so far, suggesting that 45 confirmed cases there seems low given that there have already been three identified exported cases.

The CDC and CBP began screenings January 17 at San Francisco (SFO), New York (JFK), and Los Angeles (LAX) airports to detect ill travelers to this country on direct or connecting flights from Wuhan in response to an outbreak there caused by a novel coronavirus (2019 nCoV) that has resulted in 40 confirmed infections and two deaths in humans from the virus whose origin is being investigated in that city in Central China.

CDC officials picked the three airports because they see the majority of passengers arriving from Wuhan. The San Francisco and NY airports are the only two in the country that receive direct flights from Wuhan, officials said.

But "we know it's crucial to be proactive and prepared", said Messonnier, who noted that the USA has previously experienced outbreaks of similar viruses, including the outbreaks of SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) in 2002 and MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome) in 2012.

Cases of the virus were first reported in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, believed to be the epicenter of the outbreak.

Although the disease is concentrated in Wuhan, two cases have turned up in Thailand and one in Japan, brought by recent visitors to Wuhan. Thailand and Japan have confirmed new cases of the virus earlier this week, stoking worries globally as numerous 1.4 billion Chinese people will travel overseas during the Lunar New Year holidays that begin next week. "That is why we are moving forward with this screening". Chinese health officials say many of those who became sick worked at or visited a seafood market in the suburbs of Wuhan.

Temperature tests started at Wuhan's Tianhe global airport on Wednesday but two flight attendants who were working at domestic terminals told Reuters they had not received any extra training or warnings.

This family includes the viruses that cause SARS and MERS, as well as those that cause milder illnesses, like the common cold.

However, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission has not ruled out limited human-to-human transmission, revealing a woman may have contracted the virus from her husband. On Jan. 1, the market was shut down and disinfected, the South China Morning Post reported. Local authorities have confirmed that a second person in the city has died of a pneumonia-like virus. The CDC states that the virus likely jumped from market animals to humans, and then may have spread between people.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has also warned that a wider outbreak is possible, though it has advised against any travel restrictions for China.

Except for 2 cases of severe illness, which was temporarily unsuitable for transfer, the remaining 15 cases had been transferred to Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital for centralized treatment. Tests also revealed that the new coronavirus can easily be transmitted between humans.

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