Health ministry issues alert on coronavirus as death toll rises to 9 in China

Updated January 22, 2020

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According to NHS, symptoms of the deadly virus range from fever, to coughing and difficulty breathing. — AP/File
According to NHS, symptoms of the deadly virus range from fever, to coughing and difficulty breathing. — AP/File

The Ministry of National Health Services (NHS), Regulations and Coordination on Wednesday alerted the Disease Surveillance Division and Central Health Establishment to the possible spread of coronavirus in Pakistan.

China — where the virus originated from — has confirmed 473 cases of coronavirus, the People Daily newspaper said today.

The death toll remained at nine, the paper said.

The virus, which originated in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in Hubei at the end of last year and has spread to Chinese cities including Beijing and Shanghai, as well as the United States, Thailand, South Korea and Japan.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Tuesday that there may have been limited human-to-human transmission of the new coronavirus in China within families, and it is possible there could be a wider outbreak.

The organisation has given guidance to hospitals worldwide about infection prevention and control in case the new virus spreads. There is no specific treatment for the new virus, but anti-virals are being considered and could be “re-purposed”, said Maria Van Kerkhove, acting head of WHO’s emerging diseases unit.

With Chinese New Year approaching on Jan 25, when many Chinese tourists visit Thailand, the WHO called on Thai authorities, the public and holidaymakers to be on alert.

According to the NHS, the notification has been issued in response to the international alert on the virus, which has spread from seafood and animals to humans.

Symptoms of the deadly virus range from fever, to coughing and difficulty breathing.

NHS has decided to establish coronavirus prevention counters at all airports. It has also been advised that people who recently visited China should also be tested for presence of the virus.

A vaccine for protection against the virus is yet to be developed.