Passengers arriving from the Chinese city of Wuhan arrive at Narita Airport in Chiba, Japan in this photo taken by Kyodo January 23, 2020. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS
CAIRO – 25 January 2020: Egypt has been announced free from a respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, China.
Egypt’s Ministry of Health declared on Wednesday a state of emergency in quarantines at all the state’s air, maritime and ground outlets as a protection against the outbreak of the new coronavirus.
Patients with confirmed 2019-nCoV infection worldwide have reportedly mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath. According to U.S.’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), symptoms of 2019-nCoV may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 after exposure.
Countries are closely monitoring the outbreak of the 2019-nCoV infection that has recorded hundreds of confirmed cases, and thousands suspected. The virus has killed around 26 people in China thus far, with more cases are expected to be confirmed especially at a time when seasonal influenza is at its highest in China.
Some cases were announced in different countries in Asia, including: Nepal, Japan, Bali, and Malaysia, in addition to Australia, and Washington in United States.
Egypt takes Precaution measures
For its part, Egypt announced precaution measures to follow up on the situation, and prevent the virus’s spread in the country.
The Ministry of Health added that all inbound and outbound travelers from and to the country are being inspected, noting that the hospitals nationwide have been notified of the necessary measures and treatment.
Head of the preventive medicine sector at the Egyptian Ministry of Health Alaa Eid said in TV statements on Friday that the new virus is the third type of coronavirus. Coronavirus types range from common cold to severe forms that are life-threatening, including SARS and MERS.
Eid stated that the government’s efforts managed to prevent the outbreak of SARS virus in 2013 in Egypt. He also highlighted Egypt’s measures to ban the spread of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in the country in 2012, while it currently exists in Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries.
Eid stressed that Minister of Health Hala Zayed immediately raised degree of preparedness once WHO issued its first statement about the virus on January 7. Zayed set a Plan with WHO to deal with the virus, including: early detection, accurate definition of cases, and raising the degree of readiness at quarantine departments.
Snakes and bats behind new coronavirus
Some studies argue that Wuhan coronavirus may have been transmitted to people from snakes, which might have caught the virus from bats as they both are sold in the same food market.
On 20-21 January 2020, a World Health Organization (WHO) delegation conducted a field visit to Wuhan to learn about the response to 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCOV).
WHO delegation and their counterparts agreed close attention should be paid to hand and respiratory hygiene, food safety and avoiding mass gatherings where possible.
People with fever should avoid close contact with others and seek medical help.
Chinese experts shared with the delegation a range of protocols that will be used in developing international guidelines, including case definitions, clinical management protocols, and infection control among others.