China has reported another surge in cases of the coronavirus over the past few days, which has put the death toll at over 1,000 people. According to the Hubei Provincial Health Committee, 974 of those deaths occurred in Hubei province, the epicenter of the virus.
In response to the situation, the United Kingdom (UK) has started to implement new measures to fight back against the virus amid fears that the global spread is ramping up.
On Monday, February 11, the UK declared the coronavirus a “serious and imminent threat to public health? and outlined plans to indefinitely detain anybody with the virus.
Two specialist hospitals near London will serve as quarantine locations. According to the UK Department of Health and Social Care, infected persons will be forcibly quarantined and won’t be allowed to leave if they have the virus.
The country’s health secretary, Matt Hancock, urged the public to keep the threat of the virus in perspective, while also promising a strong government response.
“Clinical advice has not changed about the risk to the public, which remains moderate. We are taking a belt and braces approach to all necessary precautions to ensure public safety,” he said.
On Monday, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the UK doubled to eight. The new cases stem from a British national who traveled to Singapore in January, then went to a ski resort in the French Alps.
On Sunday, French authorities confirmed that five British nationals, including one child, had been diagnosed with the virus.
Experts fear that this situation could be designated a “super spreader” case, meaning one infected individual then spreads the virus to a larger number of other people over various locations.
The man attended a conference in Singapore, where he is thought to have been infected. Subsequently, he traveled on several airplanes, visited France, and then went back home to the UK.
The World Health Organization said it would be unfair to label the individual a “super spreader” with the relatively small number of confirmed cases that have seemed to stem from his movements.
However, there are concerns that others “may go on to initiate chains of infection in their home countries,’’ said Dr. Nathalie MacDermott, a clinical lecturer at King’s College London.
Back to work
In China, meanwhile, the Lunar New Year holiday break finally came to an end. Although many businesses reopened, it was reported that many individuals chose to stay home.
The holiday, one of the biggest annual celebrations in China, was extended due to fears of exacerbating the health crisis.
Chinese officials are said to be closely monitoring employees returning to work for any signs of increased transmission.