Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak had been first reported on December 31, 2019, in Wuhan, China. Coronavirus belongs from a large virus family symptoms varying from the common cold to fatal Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). The novel coronavirus is a new strain and has not been identified in humans previously.
As the death toll of coronavirus keeps on increasing outside mainland China, the fears regarding the same continue to build up. South Korea has reported a rise in new infection cases on February 23, 2020, while Iran experienced the death of the sixth patient diagnosed with coronavirus.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has expressed its concerns regarding the sporadic cases having no substantial link with epicentre China.
According to Chinese reports on February 24, 2020, there have been 508 new cases of infection and 71 more deaths, bringing the total number of infected to 77,658 and 2,663 deaths in mainland China. The disease remains in the mild stage in 80 per cent of the infected population and in a severe, critical or fatal stage in the remaining 20 per cent.
Italy is the worst-affected European country where two deaths have been reported, and 77 others remain infected mostly in the north. Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe has announced that the areas with most infection rates can now restrict people’s movement to check the spreading of coronavirus. Following this, three Serie A football matches have been suspended in northern regions of Lombardy and Veneto.
In Iran, the coronavirus outbreak, mainly in the Far East, has caused five casualties and therefore, the government has instructed on February 22, 2020, to shut down schools, universities, and cultural centres.
South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in has announced that the disease alert would be raised by one notch, reaching the highest level as 69 new cases of infection have come up to the surface bringing the total to 893.
Korea Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention has confirmed the death toll to be five. 9 nationals of the country had visited Israel and the Occupied West Bank from February 8 to 15 and have tested positive. Following this, the Israeli and Palestinian authorities have ordered a process of self-quarantine for 14 days for the people who came in contact with the tourist group.
Japan’s Health Minister Katsunobu Kato has expressed his regret as a woman who was onboard the cruise-ship Diamond Princess docked in Yokohama was released after a two-week quarantine, and later tested positive for coronavirus. In Japan, the infection rate has risen significantly, and the country is now one of the riskiest places for the spreading of the virus.
In India, the Ministry of Health has made the screening process more rigorous at the Mumbai Airport and will conduct strict checking of people coming from China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Japan and South Korea.
Sources report, “Sea freight transport, the lifeblood of trade and a bellwether of the global economy, has been blown off course by the new coronavirus, sparking general alarm.” Analysts are trying to figure out the extent of the impact on the large-scale Chinese factories, and the results appear to be dismal.
The shutdown of Chinese factories will pose a grave impact on the steel industry, pharmaceuticals, oil and gas, agrichemicals, auto-sector, IT services, consumer durables and other.
Coronavirus has affected around 25 countries worldwide, and several fatal issues have come up. World Health Organization Chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has raised the alarm that “this outbreak could go in any direction. It could even be messy” if countries are not able to mobilise the fight against the virus’ reach.