China has announced that it will temporarily lay down public transport from Thursday morning and close the airport in the metropolis of Wuhan, where the new corona virus was probably created. The government asks citizens to enter or leave the city only in exceptional cases.
In China, seventeen people died of the virus and more than 470 others became infected, local authorities said earlier this Wednesday.
The announced measures for the transport network will start tomorrow from 10.00 local time. The population of Wuhan has around 8.9 million people and the city is an important transport hub for China.
It is suspected that the new virus, which is related to SARS and MERS, originated on a market in the city where wild animals were traded illegally.
Ask RIVM all your questions about the new virus tomorrow
- Tomorrow, the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) will answer questions about the new corona virus on our NUjij response platform. Keep an eye on the front page between 2 and 4 pm to ask all your questions.
WHO another day in emergency consultation
On Wednesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) said after an urgent debate that it would take another day to decide whether the outbreak of the new virus is an international health crisis.
Such a crisis has only been declared five times before by the WHO, including for Ebola and the Zika virus. In such a case, countries have to work together to stop the spread, as was agreed in an international treaty from 2005. The procedure was designed after the SARS epidemic in 2002 and 2003, which killed nearly eight hundred people and infected thousands.
The WHO says it is investigating the situation in China together with local authorities and gathering all the necessary evidence. "Calling out an international health crisis is not something we take lightly," says WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. In the meantime, the WHO ensures that the necessary measures are taken.
86How the mysterious corona virus spreads through China
Illness can be transmitted from person to person
Monday it was announced by China that the disease can also be transmitted from person to person. A few cases have also been reported in countries outside of China, including four in Thailand and one in the United States, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan.
The virus can cause respiratory diseases, from a simple cold to serious lung infections. The RIVM announced on Tuesday that the risk that the disease will appear in the Netherlands is "fairly nil", as there are no direct flights from the Netherlands to Wuhan.
63China holds strict controls at Wuhan airport for coronavirus
See also: We know this about the new virus outbreak in China