Daily updates on the emerging novel coronavirus from the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.
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January 30, 2020 - Afternoon Update

EPI UPDATES The Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering estimates 8,235 confirmed cases and 171 deaths. Official figures from China’s National Health Commission are expected this evening. There are 98 confirmed cases in 18 countries outside of China, according to the WHO Director General’s statement on today’s IHR Emergency Committee meeting on 2019-nCoV. The WHO situation report released today notes that 7 of the cases reported outside of China were detected while asymptomatic, but no additional information is provided on how they were identified.

INTERIM NAME The WHO announced an interim name for the disease associated with the novel coronavirus: 2019-nCoV acute respiratory disease . They are asking partner agencies like the World Organization for Animal Health and the Food and Agriculture Organization to endorse the interim name for the disease. The final decision on an official name of the virus and disease will be made by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses

RUSSIA CLOSES LAND BORDER WITH CHINA Additional details have emerged about Russia’s decision to limit movement across the border they share with China. According to CNBC, Russia will close 16 of the 25 border crossings, and Russian officials announced that they have instituted a temporary hold on issuing electronic visas to Chinese nationals at certain checkpoints. Russia has not reported any cases of 2019-nCoV acute respiratory disease. 

PHEIC DECLARED WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus declared the 2019-nCoV acute respiratory disease outbreak to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). In a press conference following the meeting with the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee (EC), Dr. Tedros stated , “This declaration is not a vote of no confidence in China. On the contrary, WHO continues to have confidence in China’s capacity to control the outbreak.” Dr. Tedros announced that the declaration was motivated in part by the potential for the virus to spread to countries with under-resourced health systems. The DG also made a series of Temporary Recommendations on the advice of the EC, available on the WHO website .

SECONDARY SPREAD IN THE US A 6th case of 2019-nCoV acute respiratory disease has been diagnosed in the United States in a man with no recent travel history to China. The man’s wife was diagnosed with nCoV in Illinois around January 24 after returning from a trip to Wuhan on January 13. This represents the first evidence of human-to-human transmission in the United States. Illinois health officials emphasized that the two cases were in close contact and that the risk to the general public remains low. 

NEW INTERIM INFECTION CONTROL GUIDANCE FOR PERSONS UNDER INVESTIGATION The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued updated interim guidance on infection control measures while evaluating persons under investigation (PUI). The guidance includes details on recommended personal protective equipment, environmental cleaning and disinfection, work practices, and administrative and engineering controls. CDC's criteria to evaluate a patient as a PUI include fever, symptoms of lower respiratory symptoms and either recent travel to Wuhan or recent confirmed contact with a confirmed nCoV patient. PUIs should be distinguished from contacts, who are individuals with varying levels of contact with a confirmed case, but who are not showing any signs or symptoms of the disease. Should a known contact develop any of the symptoms listed in the CDC criteria, they would become a PUI until a diagnostic test either confirms or rules out infection.

EUROPEAN CDC CONTACT EVALUATION AND MONITORING The European CDC published guidance for evaluating and monitoring contacts of confirmed cases of 2019-nCoV acute respiratory disease. The document includes definitions for low- and high-risk exposures and monitoring guidance for each. Low-risk contacts (i.e., casual contacts) should self-monitor for 14 days, and high-risk contacts (i.e., close contacts) will undergo active monitoring by public health officials for 14 days. High-risk contacts are also directed to avoid social contact and travel during their monitoring period. If any contacts develop a fever or relevant respiratory symptoms, they are instructed to self-isolate and seek medical attention. Subsequent laboratory diagnostic tests will be used to confirm infection.

CRUISE SHIP QUARANTINE Passengers and crew on a cruise ship in Italy are being held onboard while 2 passengers are being tested for 2019-nCoV acute respiratory disease. A female passenger from Macau developed a fever and flu-like symptoms; she and her partner are being isolated onboard while diagnostic testing is conducted. In the meantime, authorities in Italy have asked that no passengers be permitted to disembark the ship until it can be determined that the passengers being tested do not pose a risk to the general public. The cruise ship reportedly has approximately 6,000 passengers onboard.