By JAMILA HUSAIN
Following reports of the Wuhan Pneumonia being detected in two people outside China, the World Health Organization has informed the Health Ministry in Colombo and other countries which are frequently visited by Chinese tourists and nationals to be cautious of the virus, which is now believed to have limited human to human transmission.
Informed sources from the Health Ministry told Daily Mirror yesterday that local health officials had been alerted by WHO to be cautious, and steps had been taken to implement urgent contingency plans if the situation worsens.
“We are regularly in touch with WHO and are ready with contingency plans if the situation worsens. We have been informed of the first case reported in Japan and are monitoring the situation closely,” Ministry
The WHO, on Tuesday said that it is possible there could be a wider outbreak of the virus as there may have been limited human-to-human transmission of the new coronavirus in China within families. A Chinese woman has been quarantined in Thailand with a mystery strain of the coronavirus, Thai authorities said last Monday, the first time the virus has been detected outside China.
Then yesterday, Japan also confirmed its first case of infection from the new China coronavirus after a man in his 30s had returned after visiting the Chinese city
of Wuhan. Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, acting head of WHO’s emerging diseases unit told reporters in Geneva earlier this week, the WHO was preparing for the possibility that there could be a wider outbreak but said it is still in its early days, and they do not have a clear clinical picture. She further said WHO had given guidance to hospitals worldwide about infection control in case of spread, including by a “super-spreading” event in a health care setting.
“This is something on our radar, it is possible, we need to prepare ourselves,” she declared.
With the Chinese New Year approaching on Jan. 25, when many Chinese tourists visit overseas, reports said countries have been told to be on alert.
In all, 41 cases of pneumonia have been reported in the central Chinese city of Wuhan while one patient has died.