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  • Writer's pictureStudents for Global Health

New Coronavirus Outbreak in China

Updated: Nov 10, 2020

Coronavirus is a respiratory illness causing a runny nose, headache, cough, sore throat and fever, among other symptoms. There are two types of coronavirus in humans that have been found to cause severe symptoms – MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV. There have been no reports of SARS-CoV anywhere in the world since 2004. Coronavirus is most commonly spread from an infected person through particles in the air, close personal contact, and through touching infected surfaces.

In December 2019, there were cases reported of a SARS-like virus in Wuhan, China, which was later identified as a severe type of coronavirus causing fever and difficulty in breathing. Since, it has been confirmed that lab results have shown that MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV are not the cause. There has been a steep increase in the number of people infected, taking it up to more than 217 people across the country, including some cases in the capital. This could be due to the busy travel period across the Christmas break and New Year holidays.

As of 20th January 2020, there have been three reported deaths due to the virus and a few new cases have been identified in Thailand, Japan and South Korea – due to recent travel from China. China’s National Health Commission has stated that the outbreak is “preventable and controllable” but that the source or route of transmission has yet to be established. The virus is thought to be a new type of coronavirus that is different from any others in the past.

In Wuhan, there have been infrared thermometers installed at airports, railway stations and coach stations in order to identify those with high fevers. Those with high fevers are given face masks to wear and taken to medical institutions in order to prevent the spread of the disease and ensure that they receive treatment. The WHO has advised all those travelling in or out of the affected areas to avoid close contact with people suffering with flu like symptoms, frequent handwashing, avoiding close contact with animals and practicing cough etiquette.

Experts at Imperial College London have estimated that the actual figures of people infected could be up to 1,700, meaning that cases are going hugely unreported or undetected. It is imperative that the disease’s clinical presentation, transmission and it’s source are determined to get more understanding on the ways in which to prevent the outbreak of this deadly disease from growing.  



  1. Coronavirus Factsheet CDC

  2. BBC News - New Virus 

  3. Coronavirus Outbreak WHO

  4. What we know so far about China's Coronavirus outbreak

  5. China's Xi says coronavirus outbreak must be taken seriously - AP

  6. SARS-like virus spreads in China, 136 new cases

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