World needs to intensify battle against virus - GulfToday

World needs to intensify battle against virus


The economic impact of the virus has also been gargantuan with several factories idled in many countries, trade routes frozen and tourism crippled.

The rapid spread of coronavirus over the past few days to multiple countries is a matter of huge concern. COVID-19 has now been found in as many as 40 countries.

The novel coronavirus has already killed over 2,700 people and infected more than 81,000, the vast majority in China.

While the number of deaths in China has declined, with 52 deaths in the last 24 hours, the lowest count in more than three weeks, the daily number of infections worldwide is higher than in China, as per the World Health Organization (WHO), and that’s mighty reason to worry about.

The economic impact of the virus has also been gargantuan with several factories idled in many countries, trade routes frozen and tourism crippled.

WHO has cautioned that the world is “simply not ready,” and the warning should not be taken lightly considering the gravity of the situation.

In its latest count, some 40 people have died outside mainland China since the start of the epidemic.

The new cases of the virus have appeared in Algeria, Austria, Croatia, Greece and Switzerland, bringing the number of countries hit to around 40.

Greece confirmed its first case on Wednesday, a woman who had recently travelled to northern Italy; while a suspected case was reported in Brazil — a traveller recently returned from Milan. If confirmed, it would be Latin America’s fist case of the virus.

What adds to the anxiety is that the diagnosis in Brazil has come during carnival holiday, a peak time for domestic travel when millions of revelers throng to major cities for raucous street celebrations.

Croatia, Austria and Algeria have all reported cases linked to Italy, while a hotel in Spain remains under lockdown after an infected Italian tourist was hospitalised with the virus.

In Asia, South Korea remains the worst affected country after China, with the outbreak traced to a religious sect in the southern city of Daegu.

In the Middle East, Iran has emerged as a major hotspot, with a total of 139 cases and 19 deaths. Even the country’s deputy health minister Iraj Harirchi has said he has contracted the virus.

Kuwait’s health ministry has mentioned on Twitter that the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus has risen to 25 after 13 more cases were confirmed.

In the UAE, the authorities have moved on the right track and are taking all precautions to ensure the safety of the community.

The officials have been following a very effective epidemiological monitoring mechanism, and taking all the necessary precautions to ensure highly efficient preventive measures, including check-ups and observation of the people who have been in contact with patients, in accordance with the best global practices.

The UAE authorities have enough facilities to quarantine patients and will be carrying out surveillance on people entering the country, as per an official from the UAE National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority.

As he stated: “We are quite satisfied that we have taken all the necessary steps needed to preempt the spread of the virus at all levels, without pushing the country into a state of unwarranted panic.”

The fear is that the new coronavirus may be around for months. The virus knows no borders. Its arrival in countries that have little ability to detect, respond and contain adds to concerns that it could run rampant and spread easily elsewhere. That’s one aspect the global community needs to focus on.

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