In fact, a new strain of coronavirus, which causes a type of pneumonia, was first detected in December 2019 in the central city of Wuhan.
The North P&I Club informs that the Chinese authorities have reported there are almost 300 cases, including four deaths.
Although confirmed cases are concentrated in Wuhan, the outbreak is understood to have spread to Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen as well in Japan, Thailand and South Korea.
There are currently no reports of the outbreak affecting port operations.
Chinese authorities have confirmed that the coronavirus can pass from person to person. Thus, there are concerns that the outbreak could spread further as people begin travelling for lunar new year celebrations.
The outbreak has similarities to the SARS virus that killed 774 people between 2002 and 2004 across Asian countries.
Signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.
Importantly, the WHO does not recommend any specific health measures for travelers.
In case of symptoms suggestive to respiratory illness, travelers are encouraged to seek medical attention and share travel history with their health care provider.
The WHO currently advises against any travel or trade restrictions on China based on the information currently available.
The basic principles to reduce the general risk of transmission of acute respiratory infections;
- Avoiding close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections.
- Frequent handwashing, especially after direct contact with ill people or their environment.
- Avoiding unprotected contact with farm or wild animals.
- People with symptoms of acute respiratory infection should cover coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or clothing, and wash hands.