The new coronavirus that has spread to almost 2,000 people is infectious in its incubation period (when a person has the disease, but no symptoms show) making it harder to contain.
Officials believe the incubation period ranges from between one and 14 days, and because there are no symptoms, persons may not know they have the infection, but still be able to spread it.
According to the latest statistics from the BBC, 56 people have died from the virus.
China’s Health Minister Ma Xiaowei also told reporters the ability of the virus to spread appeared to be strengthening.
Several Chinese cities have imposed significant travel restrictions.
Wuhan in Hubei, the source of the outbreak, is in effective lockdown.
Officials announced that the sale of all wildlife in China would be banned from Sunday.
The virus is thought to have originated in animals, but no cause has been officially identified.
Whats Does This Latest Information Mean?
According to BBC Health and Science Correspondent James Gallagher, other deadly viruses like Sars and Ebola are contagious only when symptoms appear.
Therefore with those outbreaks, authorities simply had to identify and isolate people who are sick and monitor anyone they came into contact with.
In the case of this Coronavirus, people are spreading it before they themselves even know they have it.
Stopping such “symptomless spreaders” will make the job much harder.
Cote d’Ivoire in Africa Monitoring Possible Case
Authorities in Cote d’Ivoire have tested the first person on the African continent for the Wuhan coronavirus.
An Ivorian student who traveled from Beijing to Abidjan experienced symptoms such as coughing, sneezing and difficulty breathing, the ministry said.
The student was moved to a safe location on arrival at the airport and is currently under medical observation.
Authorities believe it is a case of pneumonia and not coronavirus, but the final diagnosis will be made after the analysis of the tests results.
What Is Coronavirus?
This particular Coronavirus is a new, or “novel” strain that had not been previously seen in humans.
It was identified by Chinese authorities on January 7th and is currently named 2019-nCoV.
Coronavirus is a family of viruses that normally affects animals, with some strains making the jump to humans – one human variant causes the common cold, but another, Sars, killed hundreds in a major outbreak in 2003.
2019-nCoV causes severe acute respiratory infection.
Symptoms seem to start with a fever, followed by a dry cough and then, after a week, lead to shortness of breath and some patients needing hospital treatment.