There is no cause for alarm in Malta when it comes to the new coronavirus, Malta’s Superintendent of Public Health has said, as international authorities scramble to contain the potential spread of the contagion.
“This is a particular virus, in fact, it’s named the novel coronavirus, because it’s attacking people by affecting them much more severely than a normal coronavirus would, as found in the normal cold,” Professor Charmaine Gauci told TVM.
Her urge for calmness comes after the number of infected people tripled over the weekend, with 217 confirmed cases of the virus in China, of which 198 are in the Wuhan region, and spreading to areas like Beijing and Shanghai.
At least four people have died in the nearby countries of South Korea, Thailand, and Japan.
The new strain, which causes a type of pneumonia to form, is contagious and passes from human to human.
Indeed, a respiratory expert running a health commission team that is investigating the virus said that 14 medical workers had caught it while treating patients. The WHO has called for an Emergency Committee for tomorrow to discuss this growing potential crisis.
I am convening an Emergency Committee to ascertain whether the novel #coronavirus (2019-nCoV) constitutes a public health emergency of international concern and what recommendations should be made to manage the outbreak.https://t.co/RNeBHf8fnr
— Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@DrTedros) January 20, 2020
This particular strain is believed to have originated in a Chinese market.
The Superintendent went on to say that authorities were “monitoring” the situation and following recommendations from the international health authorities.
“The fact that Malta does not have any direct flights to this area, and that we are seeing that there have been no cases in Europe, means there isn’t any cause for alarm. In fact, WHO is saying that there is a risk that the virus spreads to the countries nearer to that province,” Gauci added.