Several countries in Asia, Western Pacific, report coronavirus cases since January 2020. Limited local transmission; use basic precautions.

Severity: Informational Alert

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Hong Kong SAR
  • Macau SAR / Zhuhai
  • Singapore
  • Taiwan
  • Tokyo
  • Seoul
  • Sydney
  • Bangkok
  • Metro Manila
  • Brisbane
  • Melbourne
  • Kathmandu
  • Colombo
  • Ho Chi Minh City
  • Adelaide
  • Kyoto
  • Yokohama
  • Johor Bahru
  • Atsugi
  • Nagoya
  • Sihanoukville
  • Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala State
  • Kochi (Cochin), Kerala State
  • Hakone
  • Kawasaki
  • Kozhikode, Kerala State

This alert began 05 Feb 2020 22:53 GMT and is scheduled to expire 31 Mar 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Event: Imported cases of novel coronavirus, limited human-to-human transmission
  • Location(s): Asia and Western Pacific (map)
  • Period: January-February 2020

Summary
Several countries and territories in Asia and the Western Pacific have identified imported cases of 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) from mainland China, and in some instances, limited human-to-human transmission from those imported cases. As of Feb. 5, the following countries and territories have identified confirmed 2019-nCoV cases:

 

  • Australia: 13 imported cases: 4 in New South Wales, 4 in Victoria, 3 in Queensland, and 2 in South Australia. No local transmission.
  • Cambodia: One imported case in Sihanoukville, no local transmission.
  • Hong Kong SAR: 21 confirmed cases, some limited local transmission.
  • India: Three imported cases in Kerala, no local transmission.
  • Japan: 35 confirmed cases in Aichi, Kanagawa, Kyoto, and Tokyo prefectures; most are imported, some limited local transmission.
  • Macau SAR: 10 confirmed cases, likely some limited local transmission.
  • Malaysia: 12 confirmed cases, some limited local transmission in Johor Bahru.
  • Nepal: One imported case in Kathmandu, no local transmission.
  • Philippines: Three imported cases in Manila, no local transmission.
  • Singapore: 28 confirmed cases, some limited local transmission.
  • South Korea: 19 confirmed cases, some limited local transmission in Seoul.
  • Sri Lanka: Single imported case in greater Colombo, no local transmission.
  • Taiwan: 11 confirmed cases, likely some limited local transmission.
  • Thailand: 25 confirmed cases in Bangkok, some limited local transmission.
  • Vietnam: 10 confirmed cases in Ho Chi Minh City, some limited local transmission.



Background and Analysis
Imported cases of this disease are expected by health authorities as disease surveillance continues globally. Additional countries and territories may be added. Older individuals and those with chronic illness are more susceptible to infection and are at increased risk for severe complications. Human-to-human transmission is occurring, though it remains unclear how easily the virus spreads between people. However, preliminary investigations indicate the course of illness is not as contagious nor as severe as seasonal influenza.

The incubation period of 2019-nCoV is approximately 1-14 days after exposure, the average being 3-7 days until symptoms appear. Infected people may be contagious before symptoms appear. These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions.

On Jan. 30, the WHO declared the ongoing outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). This indicates 2019-nCoV requires a coordinated international response, primarily due to the potential for the virus to spread to countries with weaker health systems that would be ill-equipped to contain it. So far, every country that has identified imported cases has contained them appropriately. In a press statement after the announcement, the WHO stressed that there should be no restrictions on travel or trade and that it remains supportive of China's work to address the outbreak.

Advice
Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Avoid close contact with animals (dead or alive), especially at wet markets. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

Resources
WHO advice for international travel

WHO coronavirus knowledge base