After public transport was restricted in Wuhan, the centre of the novel coronavirus (CoV) outbreak, another central Chinese city is being put on lockdown to tackle the spread of coronavirus. According to media reports, Huanggang, a prefecture-level city in easternmost Hubei Province and neighbour of Wuhan, will follow the lead to suspending public transport in an out of the city.
The decision has been made after the International Health Regulations (IHR) Emergency Committee meeting on the night of January 22. WHO’s Director-General, in a statement, said that there was an ‘excellent discussion’ during the committee meeting and was ‘very impressed’ by the detail and depth of China’s presentation. The decision over declaring it a public health emergency has not been made. The Director-General said that he will decide after appropriate consideration of all the evidence.
He added that the committee needs more information saying, “For that reason, I have decided to ask the Emergency Committee to meet again tomorrow to continue their discussion, and the Chair, Dr Houssin, has agreed with that request”.
The novel coronavirus is a new strain in the large family of coronaviruses (CoV) which was previously not identified in humans. CoV causes illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).
CoV is zoonotic which means such viruses transmit between animals and humans but Chinese health authorities have now confirmed human to human transmission of the SARS-like virus, creating fears of a possible pandemic.