Where has coronavirus spread?

Where has the virus spread to?

China remains the centre of the outbreak of a deadly coronavirus, with cases and deaths heavily concentrated in Hubei province and its capital, Wuhan. Cases have been reported in other countries around the world as health authorities scramble to prevent a pandemic.

Authorities in China have placed at least 20 cities on lockdown as they battle to contain the spread. Travel restrictions have been imposed in cities across Hubei province where the outbreak originated. Wholesale closure of transport infrastructure has taken place across the region, affecting the movement of at least 36 million people. Infections have been confirmed in almost all of China’s provinces, as well as the municipalities of Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing and Tianjin.

china cities map

Where did it start and where could it go next?

The outbreak is centred on the city of Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province and home to more than 11 million people. Efforts have begun to build a 1,000-bed hospital in a matter of days to relieve pressure on existing Wuhan medical facilities that have been overwhelmed with patients. There have also been reports of empty supermarket shelves and barricades going up.

Wuhan’s international airport serves 104 destinations including 29 outside China. There are three direct flights a week from Wuhan to Heathrow, where arrivals from the affected city will now enter through a separate area. Screening has started at the three US airports where Wuhan flights land. Checks are also in place at airports in the other east Asian countries that have confirmed the virus is present.

flights map

Cases spread to France, Australia, Malaysia, Canada and US

France has identified three cases. Authorities say two of the three infected people belong to the same family. One of the patients, a 48-year-old man, passed through Wuhan. He was in contact with about 10 people before he was taken into care.

In Australia, three patients in New South Wales and one in Victoria have been diagnosed with the virus.

Malaysia confirmed its first three cases on Saturday. All are Chinese nationals on holiday from Wuhan who arrived in the country from Singapore two days earlier.

Canada said it discovered its first case, a man is his 50s who recently flew from Wuhan to Guangzhou and then on to Toronto.

US health officials have announced three positive tests.

Passengers wearing a protective masks on arrival at Sydney International Airport. Photograph: Joel Carrett/AAP
Security personnel wearing hazardous material suits measure body temperatures of passengers at the entrance of a subway station in Beijing.
Security personnel wearing hazardous material suits measure body temperatures of passengers at the entrance of a subway station in Beijing. Photograph: Wu Hong/EPA

Japan, Nepal, Singapore, South Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, Taiwan and Macao

Japan’s health authorities in Japan – a destination for many lunar new year holidaymakers – confirmed a second case on Friday.

Singapore has announced at least four cases: A 66-year-old man and his 37-year-old son, who arrived in Singapore on Monday from Wuhan, a 52-year-old Wuhan woman, who arrived in the city-state on Tuesday, and a 36-year-old man from Wuhan who sought treatment on 24 January and was immediately isolated.

Elsewhere, South Korea’s government confirmed its third case, while two cases have been confirmed in Vietnam. Thailand’s public health ministry has confirmed five cases. Taiwan has reported three cases and Macao two.

How widely did Sars spread in 2003?

The Wuhan coronavirus is mainly spread through the respiratory tract. A seafood market selling wild animals in Wuhan is the suspected source of the virus. Scientists believe it probably jumped from an animal to a human and is now transmissible from one person to another, and could mutate further.

Comparisons have been drawn with the Sars outbreak in 2003, which was similarly caused by a coronavirus. China’s handling of Sars was criticised because it played down the first cases. The virus spread to 37 countries, causing global panic, infecting almost 8,500 people and killing almost 1,000.

Sars map


Paul Torpey, Chris Watson, Pete Guest and Cath Levett

The GuardianTramp

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