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On 31 December 2019, China notified WHO of a pneumonia outbreak of then unknown aetiology in Wuhan,1 a city of 11 million people in Hubei province. The seafood market which was thought to be the source was closed on 1 January 2020.2 The causative organism was identified on 7 January 2020 as a novel coronavirus (nCOV). The genetic sequence of at least 19 strains found in infected patients has been published so far.3 4 To date, COVID-19 has already confirmed to have affected almost >68,000 with >1600 deaths in China, and over 680 cases outside of China spanning 25 countries over South East Asia, Europe, North America, Australia and the Middle East, etc. This number is expected to rise over the next few months worldwide. So far, 41 million from China and at least 14 cities in the Hubei province have travel restrictions, some with suspension of outbound flights and trains as well as other public transport, and many countries are taking measures to quarantine travellers from China.
Comparisons are being made with severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), also both caused by coronaviruses. SARS emerged in 2003 and caused the first pandemic of the 21st century, affecting more than 8000 people, …
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