Chennai: Even as cases of Corona outbreaks are being reported across the globe with Europe clocking its first case on Saturday, China spent a dreary lunar new year with over 1000 cases reported in the area of Wuhan which has been the epicentre of the outbreak. The death toll, which was at 34, rose further on Saturday with nearly 15 people succumbing. Meanwhile, Australia has reported 3 cases and the Us, one confirmed case. Taiwan, France and Nepal have also reported confirmed cases. The other countries to report cases are Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, and Thailand.

The virus, which has been described as 'similar to SARS', has seemingly unassuming symptoms like fever, shortness of breath, dry cough, and respiratory issues. Studies are showing that slightest contact with the patients seem to put people at risk and also that there may be carriers who show no symptoms of the disease.

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China, where the virus has originated, has had over 1000 cases and the Wuhan area, more specifically the Hubei area has been cut off by travel regulations. Several cities are under lockdown and the lunar new year, the biggest Chinese event, has been hampered with the authorities cancelling several events. Travel restrictions in Wuhan and 12 other cities have penned in 35 million people on the country’s biggest holiday, normally a time for traveling to visit family. Most victims have been older males and people with chronic illnesses seem to be particularly susceptible. While the youngest death reported is that of a 36-year-old, there has been reportedly a 2-year-old patient reported in Hechi. The virus was first linked o people in meat markets but the cases now come from all walks of life. While there are no vaccines or remedies for the infection yet, an antiviral medication called remdesivir appears to be effective in animals.

The Chinese government, which is drawing criticism for not accepting foreign help, is building a 1000-bed hospital at Wuhan and hopes to complete it in 10 days. The authorities ahd built a similar makeshift hospital during the SARS outbreak of 2003. Chinese Americans and civilians with relatives in the affected area have been scrambling to help, mailing masks and such to relatives. Stores in the Flushing neighbourhood have reportedly run out of stock what with the American Chinese community rushing to help. Shanghai Disneyland, the Forbidden City and even the Badaling section of the great wall will remain closed untill further notice. 

Though the country has no direct flights to Wuhan, Spain is showing admirable response wit the minister of health, Salvador Illa, addressing the public about the matter and assuring them that the country is well equipped to handle any arising case. Travelers from other European countries were also being screened, he said.

The loss of flora, fauna, and settlements in the recent bushfires notwithstanding, Australia is rigging up for the next national issue after a man who flew in from Guangzhou, China, was diagnosed at Melbourne with the Corona Virus. He had reportedly traveled from the city of Wuhan, where the outbreak is the most severe. The man - a 50-year-old Chinese national - arrived in the city in a morning flight on January 19 and all passengers from that flight will be tracked as a safety measure, said official sources. With nearly 5 suspected cases in New South Wales, Australia is also on high alert.

The US has two reported cases - a 30-year-old man and a 60-year-old woman - who are currently being treated for symptoms. India, where 3 suspects cases have been flagged in three different airports, passenger screening has been extended to 12 airports. There is also a suspected case being treated at a hospital in Kerala. A seclusion ward is also being readied at the Delhi AIIMS, while ICMR-NIV Pune is testing the samples from the airport screenings.