On 31 December 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) was informed of a cluster of cases of pneumonia of unknown cause detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. On 12 January 2020 it was announced that a new coronavirus had been identified in samples obtained from cases, and that initial analysis of virus genetic sequences suggested that this was the cause of the outbreak.
As of 22 January 2020, 440 cases and 9 fatalities have been officially reported by the Chinese National Health Commission from mainland China. Most but not all cases had been or are in Wuhan city. To date, 15 health care workers are reported to have been infected.
In addition, as of 22 January 2020, a small number of cases have been diagnosed in travelers from Wuhan in Thailand (2 cases), Japan (1 case), the Republic of Korea (1 case), Taiwan (1 case) and the United States of America (1 case).
This is an evolving situation and information will be updated regularly.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses with some causing less-severe disease, such as the common cold, and others causing more severe disease such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) coronaviruses.
Public Health England (PHE) is currently using the name Wuhan novel coronavirus (WN-CoV), in the absence of internationally accepted names for the virus and the disease/syndrome it causes. Other sources may use alternative temporary names for the virus, such as 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). PHE will keep the terms used under review and may update guidance later, to reflect any announcement of an internationally agreed name.
The source of the outbreak has yet to be determined. Preliminary investigations identified environmental samples positive for WN-CoV in Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan City, however some laboratory-confirmed patients did not report visiting this market, and investigations are ongoing.
Although evidence is still emerging, information to date indicates human-to-human transmission is occurring. Hence, precautions to prevent human-to-human transmission are appropriate for both suspected and confirmed cases. WN-CoV infections have been reported in health care workers in China.
We do not know the routes of transmission of WN-CoV; however, other coronaviruses are mainly transmitted by large respiratory droplets and direct or indirect contact with infected secretions (via sneezing, coughing, etc). In addition to respiratory secretions, other coronaviruses have been detected in blood, faeces and urine – and so it is essential that individuals maintain good personal hygiene routines!
If someone coughs or sneezes and they do not cover it, those droplets can spread about one metre (3ft). If you are very close to the person you might breathe them in.
Or, if someone coughs or sneezes into their hand, those droplets and the virus within them are easily transferred to surfaces that the person touches, such as door handles, hand rails, telephones and keyboards. If you touch these surfaces and touch your face, the virus could enter your system, and you can become infected.
Please display the attached posters in workplaces as appropriate as general information for good hygiene routines!
Corps Security has a well-developed pandemic strategy as part of our overall Business Continuity Planning – and should individuals receive and enquiries about this from our colleagues or customers – please do not hesitate to refer them to myself.
Quality & Compliance Manager