Coronavirus alert issued in Pakistan, what is 2019-nCOV

The Government of Pakistan Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination has issued Coronavirus Alert for Pakistan.

The experts fear the coronavirus may spread across the world.

The virus has already claimed 17 lives and infected hundreds in China.

The alert is given a top and most immediate priority. It states:

It has been reported by leading National and International newspapers and eminent Journals that SARS-like CoronaVirus was found in the Central Chinese city of Wuhan.

It has been further reported by the Chinese National Health Commission that the virus can be transmitted between people and more cases are expected to emerge.

In the wake of the international alert; it is hereby directed that the Disease Surveillance Division and Central health Establishment shall monitor, detect and exercise the highest level of vigilance.

First Report of Coronavirus

The first case was reported in late December 2019 in Wuhan, a major city in central China.

The virus is rapidly spreading ever since.

Number of Confirmed Cases

The authorities have confirmed 544 cases, most of them from China. The virus has spread in Thailand, Japan, South Korea and also the US.

List of confirmed cases:

  • China: 544
  • Thailand: 4
  • Japan: 1
  • South Korea: 1
  • US: 1

WHO’s report shows the data updated on Tuesday.

A study conducted and published by the Imperial College London on January 17, suggests the total number of 2019-nCOV cases could be much higher than reported. The study suggests over 1,700 cases.

What is Coronavirus

A coronavirus is a common virus that causes infection to the nose, sinuses, or upper throat. The coronaviruses were first identified in the 1960s. They get their name from their crown-like shape.

However, the 2019-nCOV has never been encountered before. Like all other coronaviruses, it has also come from animals possibly seafood.

Most of the infected in China either worked or frequently shopped in the Huanan seafood wholesale market.

Symptoms caused by Wuhan Coronavirus

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This virus causes pneumonia. The patients infected are reported to suffer from cough, fever and breathing difficulties.

Antiviral drugs may be used but it only lessens the severity of the symptoms. The patients may get breathing support and fluids.

Recovery depends on the strength of the immune system. Those who have died were already in poor health.

Human to Human Transmission

China’s National Health Commission has confirmed human to human transmission of coronavirus.

Other Coronaviruses

  • Severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars)
  • Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome (Mers)

Both are caused by coronaviruses that came from animals.

Snakes and Bats are the Likely causes

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There is a possibility that the 2019-nCOV has spread from snakes that hunt for bats. Reports have shown that snakes were sold in the local seafood market in Wuhan.

Researchers analyzed the protein codes of the new coronavirus and compared it to protein codes found in different animal hosts, like birds, snakes, marmots, hedgehogs, manis, bats and humans.

The study found that the protein codes in the 2019-nCOV are most similar to those used in snakes.

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