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SA Health Officials Step Up Efforts To Detect Coronavirus

As the death toll from the coronavirus continues to climb, the South African Health Department on Sunday said it stepped up efforts to detect the virus on home soil.

Eighty people have died in China from the coronavirus with almost 3,000 more confirmed ill.

As the virus continues to spread, many countries have implemented travel bans and quarantines.

Health Department spokesperson Popo Maja said South Africa was prepared.

“We have the equipment to check a person’s temperature at the airport, as we know the temperature is affected when someone has an infection.”

Here is what we know so far:* As of 27 January the death toll in China had risen to 80, with 76 in Hubei province, authorities reported. Another 2,744 people in China had been infected: As of the end of 26 January, there were 1,423 confirmed cases in Hubei province.

  • Thailand and Hong Kong have each reported eight cases of infection; the United States and Macau have five each; Taiwan, Australia, Singapore and Malaysia each have reported four; France and Japan three each; Vietnam and South Korea two apiece, and one each in Canada and Nepal.
  • No fatalities have been reported outside China.
  • The previously unknown coronavirus strain is believed to have emerged late last year from illegally traded wildlife at an animal market in Wuhan, a city of 11 million people.
  • The World Health Organisation said that while the outbreak was an emergency for China, it was not yet a global health emergency.
  • Symptoms include fever, cough and difficulty breathing. Most of those affected are older people and those with underlying health conditions.* China says the virus is mutating and can be transmitted through human contact.
  • Two scientific analyses of the epidemic say each person infected is passing the disease on to between two and three other people.
  • Three research teams have begun work on developing potential vaccines, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations said. Scientists hope to be testing the first possible vaccines in three months’ time.
  • China is testing the HIV drug Aluvia as a treatment.
  • There are severe travel restrictions in Wuhan, with urban transport shut and outgoing flights suspended.
  • Among other measures to contain the virus, China will halt all group tours, affecting tourism both at home and to other countries, from 27 January.
  • Hong Kong has barred residents of Hubei province from entering the city.
  • France, Italy, Japan, Australia and the United States have all said they are working to evacuate citizens from Wuhan.