There have now been almost 10,000 cases of coronavirus, which has been declared a global health emergency. The disease has spread to at least 17 countries, including two confirmed cases in the UK.
The answers to a selection of readers’ questions about the new virus are below.
Why is the UK government organising the repatriation of citizens? – Jeff Otterside
The Foreign Office (FCO) is providing repatriation to British citizens in Hubei Province, the source of the coronavirus, “due to increasing travel restrictions and difficulty accessing medical assistance”.
It is not repatriating the thousands of British citizens in other parts of China, but is advising against all but essential travel to the country.
On Friday, 83 Britons and 27 foreign nationals were being flown back to the UK from Wuhan, the Hubei city at the centre of the outbreak. Other countries including Japan, the US and EU states are also repatriating their citizens.
The FCO says its priority is to keep families together, but under Chinese law only British passport holders who do not hold Chinese nationality are allowed to leave through assisted departure.
What is the incubation period for the coronavirus? – Gillian Gibs
The World Health Organization says the incubation period, the time when infected people can pass the virus to others, ranges from two to 10 days.
These estimates will be narrowed-down as more data becomes available.
Knowing and understanding the incubation period is very important. It allows doctors and health authorities to introduce more effective ways to control the spread of the virus.
It means, for instance, that they can introduce more effective quarantine systems, isolating those suspected of carrying the virus from others.
Do people who have contracted coronavirus return to full health? – Chris Stepney, Milton Keynes
Yes. Many of those who contract coronavirus will experience only mild symptoms. These include fever, coughing and respiratory problems. Most people are expected to make a full recovery.
But it can pose a particular risk for elderly people and those with pre-existing problems like diabetes or cancer, or weak immune systems.
As of 31 January, Chinese health authorities said that 213 people had died from the virus. The number of confirmed cases stands at 9,962.
An expert at China’s National Health Commission has said that it can take a week to recovery from mild coronavirus symptoms.
Can the coronavirus be transferred through items bought from Wuhan and posted to UK? – Stefan
There is no evidence this is a risk. Some diseases – including the coronavirus that causes Sars – can spread through surfaces contaminated by people coughing or sneezing on them.
It has not been shown this new coronavirus can do that. Even if it could, there would still be questions about whether international shipping would be a major problem.
Cold viruses tend to survive less than 24 hours outside the human body although norovirus (a severe stomach bug) can last months outside the body.
The most reassuring fact so far is that cases seem to require close contact with another person – say, a family member or healthcare worker – in order to spread.
Is there any reason such viruses are emerging more from China? – Gautam
Yes – large populations of people living in close proximity to animals.
This coronavirus almost certainly came from an animal source, with one suggestion being snakes. Sars, another coronavirus that originated in China, came from bats and the civet cat.
The early cases of this new infection were traced to the South China Seafood Wholesale Market. Live wild animals were also sold including chickens, bats and snakes.
How did Sars spread? How did it originate? – Angelo Busato
Sars, another form of coronavirus, started off in bats and then infected the civet cat, which in turn passed it on to humans.
Some people were infected by direct contact with civet cats.
But it was also able to spread from one person to another through coughs, sneezes and contaminated surfaces.
Is it possible to vaccinate in order to prevent this respiratory illness? – Hans Friedrich
At the moment, there is no vaccine that can protect people against this type of coronavirus, but researchers are looking to develop one.
It is a new strain that hasn’t been seen in humans before, which means doctors still have lots to learn about it.
What questions do you have about the coronavirus?
Use this form to ask your question:
Credit: Source link