Coronavirus: First case of human-to-human transmission confirmed outside China

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First confirmed case of human-to-human transmission outside China has been reported from Vietnam. The person, who had not travelled to China recently, had come in contact in Vietnam with a confirmed cases who had returned from Wuhan, China.

First confirmed case of human-to-human transmission outside China has been reported from Vietnam, according to information posted on World Health Organization website on January 24. The novel Coronavirus infection has been confirmed in a person who has not travelled to any part of China but had only come in contact in Vietnam with a confirmed case who had visited Wuhan.

When the WHO’s Emergency Committee met on January 22-23 to decide whether the novel virus constitutes a ‘public health emergency of international concern’, only exported cases were reported from other countries including Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Vietnam and the United States.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in a statement after the Emergency Committee meeting had said there have been cases of human-to-human transmission in China, which appears limited to family groups and health workers caring for infected patients. “At this time, there is no evidence of human-to-human transmission outside China,” he said.

In China, fourth-generation cases have been reported in Wuhan and second-generation cases outside Wuhan, the statement said.

According to the Situation Report – 4 posted on WHO website on January 24, there have been 830 confirmed cases in China and 25 deaths. But the National Health Commission statement on January 25 noted that more than 1,300 people have been infected globally and 41 have died. The total number of confirmed cases in China stands at 1,287.

“New epidemiological information reinforces the evidence that the 2019-nCoV can be transmitted from one individual to another,” the WHO Situation report said. “During previous outbreaks due to other coronavirus (Middle-East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)), human to human transmission occurred through droplets, contact and fomites, suggesting that the transmission mode of the novel coronavirus can be similar.”

Published in The Hindu on January 25, 2020

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