Update: Cluster of pneumonia cases associated with novel coronavirus – Wuhan, China – 2019

News story

As of 13th January 2020, 59 probable cases of pneumonia associated with a novel coronavirus have been reported in Wuhan City, China. Most cases had an epidemiological link to a Seafood City market (a wholesale market for seafood and live animals). Among the 59 probable cases, 41 tested positive for the novel coronavirus of which seven cases have been discharged from hospital, six are being treated and remain in severe condition and one case died. The cases showed symptoms such as fever, dyspnoea, and radiological features of bilateral pneumonia. Overall, 763 close contacts have been identified and are being monitored. So far, none of them tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

Asian doctors looking at x-ray

The onset of symptoms ranged from 8 December 2019 to 2 January 2020. No human-to-human transmission could be documented so far and no cases among health care workers have been reported. Contact tracing activities and applied hygiene and environmental sanitation activities in Wuhan are ongoing and the implicated market was closed to the public on 1 January 2020.

On 11 January 2020, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission provided an update on the current status of the outbreak, confirming a novel coronavirus as the causative agent of 41 pneumonia cases. Preliminary results from whole genome sequencing shows that this novel coronavirus has similarity with the SARS coronavirus. Further genetic analyses are ongoing. 

According to the authorities, the first death among the confirmed cases occurred on the 9th of January. This case was a 61-year-old male with severe underlying conditions. 

Due to enhanced surveillance and entry screening at transport hubs, suspect cases with pneumonia and recent travel history to Wuhan, China, are being detected in Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan. So far, all suspect cases have been discarded after epidemiological and laboratory investigations.

An update published by Wuhan authorities on the 12th of January, confirmed that there were no new cases of novel coronavirus pneumonia detected in Wuhan.

Confirmed imported case in Thailand

On the 13th of January, Thai authorities reported a confirmed imported novel coronavirus case in Thailand. The case is a tourist coming from Wuhan and was placed under isolation at Bamrasnaradura Institute of infectious diseases in Bangkok. No further epidemiological and clinical information on this case are currently available to ECDC.

Neighbouring territories such as Hong Kong, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Russia and Vietnam implemented entry screening activities to all incoming travellers from Wuhan in their transport hubs such as airports and train stations.
The airport of Wuhan has direct flight connections with some EU cities: Paris (France) with six weekly flights, London (the United Kingdom) with three weekly flights and Rome (Italy) with five weekly flights. Health authorities in the concerned EU/EEA Member States remain vigilant and closely monitor the ongoing situation in China. 

ECDC is not aware of any implementation of exit screening in Wuhan international airport. 

ECDC is monitoring this event through epidemic intelligence activities, and published a threat assessment brief 'Pneumonia cases possibly associated with a novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China' on 9 January 2020. ECDC has also published a 'Health emergency preparedness checklist for imported cases of high-consequence infectious diseases'.

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Health emergency preparedness for imported cases of high-consequence infectious diseases

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To support countries in the European Union/European Economic Area (EU/EEA) in their review of preparedness system planning, ECDC launches an operational checklist for health emergency preparedness for imported cases of high consequence infectious diseases.