China emerged as the epicenter of the novel COVID-19 in December 2019, and the past fortnight seems to have shifted the contagion from China to Europe.

In just 15 days, the epicenter of the coronavirus shifted from China to Europe, or Italy to be precise, as the nation reported more than 47,000 cases, which is the second-highest number of cases reported by a single country since the outbreak began. Almost two weeks back, China was struggling to contain the virus while being the epicenter of COVID-19, and it quickly shifted to Europe which has now become the epicenter of the virus.

China reported a drastic decline in its new cases as the outbreak peak is now over as claimed by the country. China reported that the number of positive cases for the past week has been over 80,000 and less than 85,000. European countries like Italy and Spain have reported a dramatic increase in their new cases. Mansi, a student of Lady Shri College, opined, “China had resorted to adopting strict lockdowns and other necessary measures to stop the virus from spreading further, and the country has done a fair job considering the fact that nobody was ready for this strange pandemic.”

China had reported 90 percent of the total cases of the outbreak as of March 1. By March 15, the rest of the nations accounted for nearly 50 percent of the confirmed COVID-19 cases. Chinese hospitals were overflowing with patients earlier due to the spread of the virus. However, with a sharp decline in the cases, hospitals designated solely for COVID-19 patients are now lying vacant. World Health Organization claimed earlier today that no new cases were reported in Wuhan in 24 hours which was presumed to be the origin of the novel COVID-19. Spain has ordered its 47 million citizens to remain indoors except necessary venturing such as buying groceries or medications.

Feature image credits-The Week

Suhani Malhotra

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All you need to know about the novel global coronavirus or 2019-nCOV outbreak.

The Coronavirus outbreak that started in the Chinese city of Wuhan in mid-December 2019, has according to official figures claimed 564 lives and 28,000 infections. While data leaked from the media giant, Tencent, indicates the figures range up to 27,000 deaths and 1.54 lakh infections. Most of these deaths have occurred in mainland China, but more than 272 people have been infected with the virus globally.

China is taking emergency measures to contain the virus, including putting cities on lockdown, suspending all forms of public transport, mass quarantine and shutting down public areas and tourist spots. Not just China, several countries are taking measures against the virus.

What is coronavirus?

Coronaviruses mainly circulate among animals but have been known to evolve and infect humans in the past as has been seen with SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome). The genome structure of the virus which is spreading in China is 70 percent similar to SARS and has been given the initial name of 2019-nCoV. The SARS outbreak in 2003 killed 774 people. 

What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

Reported symptoms have included fever in 90 percent of the cases, fatigue and dry cough in 80 percent, shortness of breath in 20 percent, with respiratory distress in 15 percent. Chest x-rays have revealed signs in both lungs. Apart from this, a large number of people have also been diagnosed with pneumonia.

How does coronavirus spread?

The virus, it is believed, originated at a seafood market in the city of Wuhan. The patients who initially reported sick were stallholders who worked at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan. Though the modes of transmission are still unclear, there is evidence of human-to-human transmission. Additionally, it is estimated that an infected person can at least spread the virus to three to four healthy people.

Which countries have been affected by coronavirus?

Though concentrated mainly in China, several other countries have reported confirmed cases. These include Hong Kong, Australia, Malaysia, Germany, Macau, Canada, UAE, India, the Philippines, the UK, Italy, Russia, Belgium, Cambodia, Finland, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Nepal, France, and the United States. The highest number of confirmed cases outside mainland China have been reported in Japan (45) and Singapore (30).

Has coronavirus affected India?

Till now 3 confirmed cases have been reported from the state of Kerala. Out of these 2 are students who had returned from Wuhan while the other is a businessman. All three are reported to be in a stable condition. Besides the Indian government has evacuated a total of 640 students from Wuhan and these students are being kept under observation at Ram Manohar Lohia hospital in the national capital. Passengers arriving from China and other countries are undergoing thermal screening at six major Indian airports, including Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, and Bengaluru. In addition to this, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has suspended all China-India visas until further notice.

Has anyone in India tested positive for coronavirus?

3 Indian nationals have tested positive for coronavirus or 2019-nCOV. In addition to this, a total of 1,999 people have placed under quarantine in Kerala.

Is there a cure for coronavirus?

There are currently no vaccines available to protect you against the coronavirus. You may be able to reduce your risk of infection by doing the following:

– Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

– Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.

– Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

Has the outbreak also affected the economy of China?

The Chinese government has directed the closure of working and public spaces in 24 of its 31 provinces. These provinces represent 80% of the country’s GDP and 90% of the country’s exports. The outbreak has nearly stopped tourism in China. The Shanghai Stock Exchange principle index SSE Composite has fallen nearly 8%. The outbreak has also started effecting export-import operations to and from China. 

Image Credits: The Jakarta Post

Aniket Singh Chauhan

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