Virus control

Virus control

Perhaps the boy would be cleared of the novel coronavirus, like the three other Chinese travelers who were allowed to proceed with their vacation in Boracay. Unlike the three who had no history of visiting Wuhan in China, however, a five-year-old Chinese boy now being monitored in Cebu came from Wuhan, the epicenter of the novel CoV outbreak for which there is still no cure.

The Department of Health said the boy had a fever, cough and throat irritation before arriving in the Philippines, and had tested negative for the known CoV strains of SARS and MERS. The DOH had sent samples to Australia for testing on the type of coronavirus, and the results are expected on Jan. 23.

In China, where SARS also originated, the deaths from the novel coronavirus continue to rise, as health professionals confirm that human transmission is possible in cases of 2019-nCoV. The World Health Organization is still convening in Geneva, Switzerland to determine the appropriate response to the spread of the new coronavirus in Asia. Japan, South Korea and Thailand have also reported possible cases of 2019-nCoV – mainly people who have visited Wuhan.

From 2002 to 2003, SARS or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome killed 349 people in the Chinese mainland and another 299 in Hong Kong. Two deaths were reported in the Philippines in 2003: a Filipina nursing assistant who was visiting from Canada, who infected her father.

The coronavirus is easily transmitted through coughing or sneezing, so it can spread rapidly. With numerous reports of the virus spreading from Wuhan, the government should have imposed more stringent controls on the entry of travelers from Wuhan. If the Chinese boy tests positive for the novel coronavirus, its spread could become as difficult to place under control as African swine fever. Greater effort is needed to prevent this from happening.

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