New Delhi: The Indian government has issued a travel advisory asking citizens to follow certain precautionary measures while visiting China in the wake of the outbreak of infection there because of a new strain of the virus which is causing respiratory problems.
The advisory issued by the Union health ministry cautioned those visiting China to avoid travel to farms, live animal markets or where animals are slaughtered, and refrain from consuming “raw or uncooked meat”.
The ministry also suggested avoiding close contact with people who are unwell or showing symptoms of illness, such as cough, runny nose among others.
Of the 41 confirmed cases of coronavirus infection have been reported since January 11, one person has died.
The mode of transmission of the novel coronavirus, however, remains unclear as of now.'
The World Health Organization (WHO) urged all countries to be prepared to tackle the spread of the virus. "WHO encourages all countries to continue preparedness activities on the novel coronavirus," the global health body had tweeted.
Second case in Thailand
Meanwhile, Thailand detected its second case of the mysterious SARS-linked virus in a visitor from China, health officials said on Friday.
The 74-year-old Chinese woman, who arrived from the central Chinese city of Wuhan – believed to be the epicenter of the outbreak -- is being treated at a hospital at Thailand's biggest airport Suvarnabhumi, Thailand health ministry informed.
With more than 1,300 passengers expected to arrive in Thailand daily from Wuhan alone during the upcoming Chinese New Year holidays, authorities have ramped up airport screenings.
Japan too reports
Japan too has confirmed a case of the virus. Japan's health ministry said a man who had visited the Chinese city of Wuhan was hospitalized on January 10, four days after his return to Japan. He reported a persistent fever.
Authorities in Wuhan said a seafood market was the center of the outbreak. It remains closed now.
The outbreak has caused alarm because the new virus is from the same family as the pathogen that causes SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), which killed 349 people in mainland China and 299 in Hong Kong in 2002 and 2003.
Japanese authorities said the man had not visited the market and that it was possible he had been in contact with a person infected with the virus while in Wuhan.
The woman diagnosed in Thailand also said that she had not visited the Wuhan seafood market.
Continue search for source of new virus: WHO tells China
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said it is "essential" for China to continue its search for the source of a previously unknown strain of coronavirus, following confirmation of infections reaching Japan and Thailand shores.
Coronaviruses are described by the WHO as "a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases".
Probably the best known is SARS which broke out in Asia in 2003, and spread to countries in North America, South America and Europe, before being successfully contained later that year.
The WHO noted that it has been expecting cases to be reported in countries other than China, underscoring the importance of monitoring and preparedness in other nations.
The work of the WHO and the Chinese authorities in containing the new coronavirus will be made more complicated by the Spring Festival, also known as the Chinese New Year, which begins on January 25, and sees hundreds of millions crisscrossing the country.
(With inputs from agencies)