All about COVID-19

Alarming spread: on novel coronavirus outbreak

India is still novel coronavirus free, even as 18 countries/regions have reported 67 cases, as on January 28, according to WHO. As on Monday, all 20 samples sent to the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune were negative, according to a Health Ministry tweet on Tuesday. Besides the NIV, four other laboratories have been equipped for testing. Thermal screening of passengers from China will now be extended from seven to 20 airports; around 33,000 passengers have been screened so far. With Nepal reporting one case, another Health Ministry tweet says, “adequate preparedness for screening” is in place in five adjoining States. But it must be noted that in 2017, the Ministry kept under wraps the detection of three cases of the Zika virus in Gujarat. These came to light when WHO was informed in May that year, more than five months after the first case was laboratory-confirmed; the excuse was that the government wanted to avoid creating “panic”. Such irresponsible behaviour by China had led to the spread of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) virus that claimed 774 lives globally in the early 2000s. India should under no circumstances repeat this with the novel coronavirus as much is not known about the virus.

In China, despite nearly 20 million people being locked down across Hubei province, the virus appears to be spreading with renewed vigour. Cases reported from mainland China have risen sharply — from 1,975 on January 25 to 2,744 on January 26 and 4,515 on January 27. Fatalities too have reflected a similar trend, touching 106 on January 27. The number of exported cases and countries that have such cases have also been increasing. The first case of human-to-human transmission was reported in Vietnam, and now Germany. The virus has long acquired the ability to spread among humans; WHO’s emergency committee meeting statement said China had reported fourth-generation cases within, and second-generation cases, outside Wuhan. Alarmingly, unlike SARS, more asymptomatic novel coronavirus cases are being reported. Besides a reported case in China, WHO has reported three other such instances outside that country. But China’s recent warning that the novel virus might be spreading even before there are symptoms has the potential to change the infection landscape if true. It is not clear if these were the reasons why, on Monday, WHO silently updated the global risk assessment from “moderate” to “high retroactively” from January 23. If the virus had exhibited all the attributes necessary to be declared as a “public health emergency of international concern” even during the first emergency committee meeting, the situation has become grim since then. WHO cannot dither any more.

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Apr 11, 2021 7:47:25 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/alarming-spread/article30677660.ece

In This Package
The Hindu Explains | How is India preparing to roll out COVID-19 vaccines?
The Hindu Explains | Why was a COVID-19 vaccine dry run necessary, and how was it organised?
Coronavirus | Why people with prior infection still need COVID-19 vaccination
Explained | What we know about China-made vaccines
How infections among participants are a part of vaccine trials | The Hindu In Focus podcast
The Hindu Explains | What is emergency use authorisation for drugs and vaccines?
Coronavirus | How the new variant quickly accumulated 23 mutations
Coronavirus | New variant does not increase reinfection risk, disease severity, deaths
Coronavirus | N501Y mutation in SARS-CoV-2 virus causes increased infectivity in mice: researchers
The Hindu Explains | Are viruses expected to change form, and will vaccines protect against a mutating SARS-CoV-2?
Coronavirus | Is the first wave coming to an end in India?
Has India passed the COVID-19 peak? | The Hindu Parley podcast
Has India passed its COVID-19 peak, as a new government study claims? | The Hindu In Focus podcast
No evidence to suggest coronavirus cluster 5 variant found in minks increases virus transmissibility, disease severity
SARS-CoV-2 not the last virus to spark a pandemic, says expert
The Hindu Explains | Who are the top contenders in the race for a COVID-19 vaccine?
The vaccine networks India will rely on and the challenges ahead | The Hindu In Focus podcast
Study advances use of indomethacin for treatment of mild cases
How an asymptomatic player turned super-spreader
How close are we to getting a COVID-19 vaccine? | The Hindu In Focus podcast
WHO warns against pursuing herd immunity to stop coronavirus
Studies document in-flight transmission of coronavirus
Experimental study finds how coronavirus can spread while speaking
Can universal masking be a crude ‘vaccine’?
The Hindu Explains | Is COVID-19 setting off a bradykinin storm in the body?
Coronavirus | Lung damage in COVID-19 dead may shed light on ‘long COVID’: study
The Hindu Explains | What does herd immunity mean for COVID-19?
The Hindu Explains | What do we know about Russia’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate Sputnik V?
Coronavirus | Russian vaccine generated strong immune response, says Lancet study
Watch | Is COVID-19 intensifying in rural India?
The Hindu Explains | Why is Phase-3 of COVID-19 vaccine trial complicated?
The Hindu Explains | What are the long-term effects of COVID-19?
The Hindu Explains | Are there re-infection fears around COVID-19?
Watch | COVID-19 and children
The Hindu Explains | Is SARS-CoV-2 a latent virus which can recur?
Watch | What is an immunity passport?
WHO says COVID-19 by far its worst global health emergency
CDC says revised guidance on coronavirus spread posted in error, removes it
Coronavirus | Plasma therapy may look promising in treating COVID-19, but it is no magic bullet
Coronavirus | Different kinds of SARS-CoV-2 exist in India but none more lethal than the other: Indian Academy of Sciences President
The Hindu Explains | Is airborne transmission of COVID-19 a risk?
Watch | What are serological surveys?
The Hindu Explains | Why is a psoriasis drug being used to treat COVID-19 patients?
Video: In conversation with Andrew Pollard, Director of Oxford Vaccine Group
Watch | All you need to know about pulse oximeters
Coronavirus | Why are only a fraction of cases tested?
Coronavirus | Vaccine was rapidly synthesised as novel coronavirus sequence was available, says virologist Gagandeep Kang
A step closer to developing a potent drug against novel coronavirus
Coronavirus | The importance of ‘contact tracing’
Coronavirus | Are diabetics more prone to COVID-19?
Private firms ready to test for COVID-19
Coronavirus | How does soap use help in tackling COVID-19?
Fight for the finite: On budgetary allocation for health
Coronavirus | A problematic testing strategy
Fighting COVID-19 together for a shared future
Scientists get ready to test rival COVID-19 pandemic vaccines in animals
Coronavirus | The cost of opacity
Watch | COVID-19: Masks and sanitisers are now essential commodities
A COVID-19 control plan made simple
Watch | Your COVID-19 queries answered
Coronavirus | How is India containing COVID-19?
Battle against COVID-19
Watch | COVID-19: Dos and don'ts from the Health Ministry
A COVID-19 response that is quick off the blocks
Watch | Why is COVID-19 not a pandemic yet?
Watch | Coronavirus: Can masks protect you?
Watch | How is India dealing with coronavirus?
WHO’s unexplained hesitancy
Watch | Bats and the novel coronavirus
Coronavirus | India shares two SARS-CoV-2 genome sequences
COVID-19 | We are in uncharted territory, says WHO
Explained | Why is COVID-19 not a pandemic yet?
New COVID-19 epidemic at ‘decisive point’: WHO chief
COVID-19 vaccine may be ready by 2022: SII
Explainer: How WHO names a new disease
WHO names deadly viral disease from China as 'COVID-19'
Explained | When can people transmit the novel coronavirus?
Analysis | For China’s Xi, the coronavirus challenge comes laden with economic costs and political risks
How bats harbour several viruses yet not get sick
WHO declares coronavirus outbreak a global emergency
Watch | What is Coronavirus?
What is the source of the new SARS-like disease reported in China?
Data | The wide, rapid spread of the novel coronavirus
You are reading Alarming spread: on novel coronavirus outbreak
Gaps in our knowledge of coronavirus origin need fulfilment: Study
A new virus emerges in China
Next Story