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EPI UPDATES There are currently at least 644 cases and 18 deaths reported. One case has been confirmed by Singapore's Ministry of Health. Two cases have been confirmed by Vietnam’s Health Ministry. 

The CDC recommended that “travelers avoid all nonessential travel to Wuhan, China.”

RISK TO VULNERABLE POPULATIONS   ...it’s not the residents of Washington state or Bangkok who are most at risk from the coronavirus. It’s China’s poor—as in many countries, a critically underserved population when it comes to health care. It’s the poor who were most likely to be in contact with the virus, it’s the poor among whom it will spread fastest, and it’s the poor who will likely be the main victims of over-repressive measures as the government, after weeks of what looked like a cover-up, snaps to action.” via Foreign Policy

PHEIC NOT DECLARED On 22 January, the members of the Emergency Committee expressed divergent views on whether this event constitutes a PHEIC or not. At that time, the advice was that the event did not constitute a PHEIC, but the Committee members agreed on the urgency of the situation and suggested that the Committee should be reconvened in a matter of days to examine the situation further. The EC statement notes:
  • Human-to-human transmission is occurring and a preliminary R0 estimate of 1.4-2.5 was presented. 
  • Amplification has occurred in one health care facility. 
  • Of confirmed cases, 25% are reported to be severe. 
  • The source is still unknown (most likely an animal reservoir) and 
  • the extent of human-to-human transmission is still not clear. 

BIOSAFETY LEVEL DETERMINATION China has issued revised biosafety guidelines for handling nCoV-2019. These guidelines require all viral culture experiments to be conducted in a BSL3 following explicit approval from the National Health and Health Commission. All animal experiments using nCoV-2019 must also be performed at BSL3. Uncultured viruses, such as patient samples being tested for the virus, can be worked with at BSL2 if personnel are wearing PPE commiserate with BSL3 guidelines.  A BSL2 is allowed for inactivated virus and BSL1 is allowed for cloning activities that do not produce an infectious particle. The appropriate disinfectant should have a 0.55% chlorine content.


REAL-TIME ESTIMATES OF 2019-NCOV EPIDEMIOLOGICAL CHARACTERISTICS A novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) causing severe acute respiratory disease emerged recently in Wuhan, China. Information on reported cases strongly indicates human-to-human spread, and the most recent information is increasingly indicative of sustained human-to-human transmission. While the overall severity profile among cases may change as more mild cases are identified, we estimate a risk of fatality among hospitalised cases at 14% (95% confidence interval: 3.9–32%). Via Eurosurveillance