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Health Ministry warns travellers against deadly new coronavirus

Shahudha Mohamed
20 January 2020, MVT 16:53
Ministry of Health -- the Ministry warned travellers to exercise caution while visiting China in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak. PHOTO: MIHAARU
Shahudha Mohamed
20 January 2020, MVT 16:53

Ministry of Health on Monday advised travellers to exercise caution while visiting China in the midst of the deadly new coronavirus outbreak, first detected in Wuhan, the capital city of Hubei Province.

As a preventive measure, the ministry urged tourists to steer clear of infected patients and areas where animals are kept, sold, or butchered.

Authorities also advise travellers to wash their hand frequently with soap and cover their mouth and nose with a tissue while coughing or sneezing.

If travellers experience fever and difficulty breathing after visiting areas where the virus is known to spread, they are recommended to wear masks, seek immediate medical attention and provide information of the areas visited and transit details for the previous 14 days.

The virus reportedly causes pneumonia-like symptoms, although currently identified patients fall within a large spectrum of illness. Some patients present with elevated body temperature and dry cough. As the disease progresses, patients experience shortness of breath and respiratory distress.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), pneumonia, which inflames the lungs and causes them to fill up with fluid, has been detected in some patient chest X-rays as well.

Health Ministry assured that authorities are currently taking the necessary preventive measures as per WHO guidelines, to prevent the entry of this virus into Maldives.

The novel coronavirus was first reported to WHO on December 31, 2019. Since then, a total of 142 cases have tested positive for the virus, with two deaths confirmed by Chinese authorities.

Most of the patients infected in the outbreak were present at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan, believed to be the point of origin for the viral infection. The market, which sells fish and other animal meat, was shut down on January 1.

According to Chinese health experts, the virus does not appear to be highly contagious between humans. Thus far, no health officials or attendants have contracted the disease.

However, two cases of the virus have been detected in Thailand, in addition to another case in Japan.

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