Although the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is not as virulent as MERS, SARS or Bird Flu, the viral disease is spreading fast and finding a successful treatment is a few months away, Chief Epidemiologist attached to the Health Ministry Dr. Sudath Samaraweera said today.
“The fatality ratio of SARS is 10%, MERS 30% – 40% and coronavirus 2-3%. Therefore, no one must get panicked. What all must do is to follow medical guidelines to prevent an infection. Clean hands with soap frequently, cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue and wash hands when coughing and sneezing, avoid close contact with anyone who has fever and cough. If anyone has fever, cough and difficulty in breathing, seek medical advice immediately and share previous travel history to the doctor. Avoid direct, unprotected contact with animals. Avoid consumption of raw or undercooked animal products like meat, milk or animal organs.
“Although we have only one confirmed case of 2019-nCOV, we would not slack our surveillance and complacent with those who have not been infected but under medical observation. We maintain this vigilance at least for another month,” he said, adding that surveillance, detection, transport and treatment of suspected cases were handled on strict medical specifications and guidelines of the World Health Organisation (WHO).
“An estimated 362 patients had died by last morning from 2019-nCoV. A death in the Philippines reported on February 2 marks the first death outside China. The patient was a 44-year-old man from Wuhan who died eight days after being hospitalised, according to the Philippine Health Department. There were 17,408 cases in 27 countries by today with 362 deaths, but the number of deaths is rising steeply,” he said. (Sandun A. Jayasekera)