Several countries in Southeast Asia report COVID-19 cases since January 2020. Local transmission in some areas. Use basic precautions.

Severity: Informational Alert

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Brunei Darussalam
  • Cambodia
  • Maldives
  • Bangkok
  • Kathmandu
  • Colombo
  • Pattaya
  • Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala State
  • Kochi (Cochin), Kerala State
  • Depok
  • Laem Chabang
  • Sattahip

This alert began 11 Mar 2020 14:43 GMT and is scheduled to expire 11 Mar 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Imported cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), local transmission
  • Location(s): Southeast Asia (map)
  • Period: January-March 2020

Summary
Several countries in Southeast Asia have identified imported cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) from mainland China, and in some instances, limited human-to-human transmission from those imported cases. As of March 11, the following countries have identified confirmed COVID-19 cases:

Local disease transmission and imported cases

  • Thailand: 50 cases (39 imported, 11 locally transmitted) in Bangkok and the provinces of Chon Buri and Nakhon Si Thammarat.
  • Indonesia: 6 cases (4 imported, 2 locally transmitted) in Depok, West Java.
  • Cambodia: 2 cases (1 imported, 1 locally transmitted) in Siem Reap and Sihanoukville.


Imported cases only

  • India: 30 cases.
  • Maldives: 4 cases in Lhaviyani (2) and Ari (2) atolls.
  • Brunei: Single imported case in Bandar Seri Begawan.
  • Nepal: One imported case in Kathmandu.
  • Sri Lanka: Single imported case in greater Colombo.



Background and Analysis
Older individuals, infants, and those with chronic illness are more susceptible to infection and are at increased risk for severe complications. Human-to-human transmission can occur, though it remains unclear how easily the virus spreads between people. Preliminary investigations indicate the course of illness is not as severe as seasonal influenza, nor as contagious.

COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions.

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

US CDC: Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers

WHO: Getting your workplace ready for COVID-19


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