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News: Novel Coronavirus – outbreak, after China cases reported in Thailand and Japan

17 January 2020

The club is aware of and continues to monitor the ongoing concerns regarding the outbreak of a mysterious novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in China.

WHO has issued a statement saying that the evidence is highly suggestive that the outbreak is associated with exposures in one seafood market in Wuhan. The authorities continue their work of intensive surveillance and follow up measures, as well as further epidemiological investigations.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The 2019-nCoV is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.

As per the WHO, much remains to be understood about the new coronavirus, which was first identified in China earlier this month. Not enough is known about 2019-nCoV to draw definitive conclusions about how it is transmitted, clinical features of disease, or the extent to which it has spread. The source also remains unknown.

China has reported 41 confirmed cases, there has been one death. This death occurred in a patient with serious underlying medical conditions. Thailand and Japan have also reported one confirmed case each of a person infected with the virus.

More information issued by the WHO can be found here and here.

WHO encourages all countries to continue preparedness activities and has published information on how to monitor for cases, treat patients, prevent onward transmission in health care facilities, maintain necessary supplies, and communicate with the public about 2019-nCoV. The information includes advice on how to maintain hand and respiratory hygiene, and safe food and market practices.

WHO is developing and updating this information in consultation with networks of experts across the globe and has issued interim guidance and other information on coronaviruses which can be found here.

WHO does not recommend any specific health measures for travellers. In case of symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness either during or after travel, travellers are encouraged to seek medical attention and share travel history with their healthcare provider.

WHO advises against the application of any travel or trade restrictions on China based on the information currently available.

We would advise all our members to be well aware of the current guidance issued by WHO. Although WHO has not recommended any trade or travel restrictions it is clearly of utmost importance for members to monitor the health and wellbeing of their crews and take all necessary precautions to prevent infection.
 
Crews should also be clearly instructed to report any of the known initial symptoms of the virus immediately, and in the event of any member of crew falling unwell whilst in a high-risk area immediate advice should be sought from experienced medical services or a company doctor.


Standard Club is guided by the views and recommendations issued by WHO in respect of this outbreak and advises members to remain vigilant.​