Coronavirus, a new viral disease, has been identified in Wuhan City in eastern central China and is causing significant international concern. There has been a rapid response by all the major international health groups (eg WHO, CDC etc) and in China the authorities have acted fast to try to contain the spread of this virus.
However, at this stage there are many unanswered questions and it is currently unknown whether or not this outbreak will develop (somewhat like SARS from the early 2000’s) or be brought under control (like recent outbreaks of Measles or Mumps etc). The level of infectivity is uncertain. In other words how easily can this virus move from person to person and also how many of those who are infected remain without symptoms but could be capable of passing it on to others (eg Zika). With other respiratory diseases, such as SARS, the disease is highly contagious and could spread from person to person following only minimal contact (coughing, touching infected surfaces etc). With MERS the disease is significantly less contagious though the fatality rate is much higher than SARS. We also don’t know if this new Coronavirus will mutate and become more capable of passing from person to person and that is the reason why the international health authorities are treating this current situation with the greatest level of care.
At this time WHO / CDC etc have advised that:
- Travellers should avoid going specifically to the Wuhan region, and avoid all non essential travel to China.
- Other areas of Asia are considered safe and changing of any travel plans is not currently recommended at this time. Take a look at this interactive map of the virus.
- Before you travel, check CDC’s destinations pages for country-specific health information, including vaccine and medicine recommendations, along with many other travel tips.