To date, 80 people have been killed, 400 are in a critical condition and around 3,000 are confirmed ill.
The national new year holiday has been extended by three days to Sunday in the hope that this will help contain the spread. A cabinet statement said that it hopes this will “block the spread of the epidemic”. In Wuhan, a second dedicated hospital is being built. It will have 1,300 beds and could be completed within two weeks.
As many as 100,000 people globally could be infected with the virus
At the time of writing, at least 44 cases have been confirmed abroad, including in France, Thailand, the US and Australia. In Australia, there have been five confirmed cases, with tests ongoing on several more symptomatic people who recently visited China. The Australian Government said that it is investigating whether it is possible to evacuate Australian citizens from within quarantine zones: “We are looking very closely at what is possible, including consular assistance for people in those areas, and what options there are for helping them with transport out of Wuhan and Hubei province. We’re exploring all opportunities to ensure when it is possible, we can assist their departure.”
As the virus can be spread before symptoms have appeared, curtailing its spread is difficult as carriers may not realise they are infected before they transmit the virus to others. Experts have wanted that as many as 100,000 people globally could be infected with the virus. Indeed, having reported four confirmed cases of the virus, as of Monday 27 January, officials from Malaysia have imposed a temporary ban on Chinese nationals arriving into the country in an effort to stop the virus spreading further.
Monitor updates from public health officials and governments and keep employees informed and educated about the outbreak
Marsh, insurance broking and risk management company, released information on immediate steps that multinationals can take. It issued the following advice with a view to protecting people and operations:
“Pay particular attention to: travel policies. If travel to Wuhan is necessary, the CDC recommends avoiding contact with sick people; avoiding animals, animal markets, and meat and other animal products; and frequently washing hands. Returning travellers exhibiting symptoms should immediately seek care and avoid contact with others; employee wellbeing. Monitor updates from public health officials and governments and keep employees informed and educated about the outbreak and any steps being taken to safeguard their health. Encourage employees to remain home when sick and telecommute if the outbreak worsens; supply chains. Identify operational and revenue impacts from potential disruptions to key suppliers and vendors. Also consider the feasibility of sourcing goods, ingredients, and component parts from alternative suppliers; and insurance coverage. Review applicable insurance policies, prepare for potential claims, and consult your broker if you have questions.”
Elsewhere, Malaysia has imposed a temporary ban on Chinese nationals arriving