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Containing the outbreak

Containing the outbreak

With 26 deaths and a sharp increase in the little-understood Coronavirus cases, China expanded the travel lockdown to include 12 cities around the outbreak's epicentre — Wuhan. Covering 35 million residents, the effort to contain the unknown fatal virus has seen hospitals call for additional supplies and help. The Chinese central government, acknowledging the shortage of resources in the wake of the outbreak, made an urgent allocation of one billion renminbi. Few confirmed cases have also been found outside China, including in Thailand, the US, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Vietnam and Singapore. Naturally, the outbreak fuels apprehensions of a pandemic which will not only be disastrous for the world's most populated country but also hurt its economy. Travel restrictions issued in the eve of the Lunar New Year will gravely impact both the country's festivities and arrangements made by individuals as millions travel home. The grievous impact of the unknown virus has been such that a shorthanded Wuhan is rushing to build a 1,000-bed hospital just to cater to the rising cases. While the World Health Organisation is yet to announce the outbreak as an "international emergency" courtesy of a low number of reported cases, the situation could arrive. At this moment, Chinese attempts will be grossly directed towards preventing the spread of the Coronavirus. Many nations have set up screening facilities at their airports to prevent affected individuals from affecting others. Perplexed and practically ambushed by the unknown outbreak, Chinese officials face a daunting task to arrest the spread of the virus while finding a way to counter it. While victim-screening has compounded in streets around the epicentre, civilians remain perturbed. Having the same symptoms as other common ailments, the apprehension of being infected by the virus is driving locals restless. The situation resembles the SARS or severe acute respiratory syndrome, which infected more than 8,000 people and killed nearly 800 before it was mostly contained in 2003. Prevention remains the best directive by Chinese medical units for civilians to remain unaffected as the process to contain the Coronavirus could last months. While efforts are directed towards treating victims and ensuring preventive measures — distributing masks and issuing advisories amongst other things — is important, China has to brave the situation and find a possible cure/vaccination. With cases rising every passing day, China is literally rushing against time to contain the outbreak and treat it.

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