New coronavirus causing more concerns

Greg Davies

Greg Davies
Director of Market Development, Assurity Consulting
30th January 2020

Further to my insight from last week, confirmed cases of this outbreak have risen to over 7,700 and led to 170 deaths, as of this morning. Evacuations and travel restrictions are also continuing to grow as countries around the World – including the UK - look to repatriate citizens caught in infected areas.

What has also been identified is WN-CoV or 2019-nCoV, as the new virus is being called, is specifically a betacoronavirus (like both SARS and MERS) and as such originated in bats, with civet cats (SARS) and camels (MERS) acting as secondary hosts prior to causing the diseases in us.

Because the virus is so new, there are still numbers of unknowns in assessing the risks associated with the diseases they cause, as the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the USA comments

“Outbreaks of novel virus infections among people are always of public health concern. The risk from these outbreaks depends on characteristics of the virus, including whether and how well it spreads between people, the severity of resulting illness, and the medical or other measures available to control the impact of the virus (for example, vaccine or treatment medications).”

For the general population the risk, however, remains low, although, for those returning from infected areas, as well as those charged with their care, it is increased.

The situation though is not at a pandemic level, although we have already had several customers approach us for advice. Particularly with business and personal travel and bearing in mind the virus has spread to 19 countries and territories worldwide so far, some simple preparations may be wise. Advice from gov.uk and NHS sources are being updated regularly and we have produced and sent out information to our customers and others. You can find further advice from these websites:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/wuhan-novel-coronavirus/

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-information-for-the-public

https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/china