GENEVA – the World Health Organisation (WHO) reports that the Novel Coronavirus is not contagious cannot be easily transmitted from person-to-person.
Since the outbreak of the SARS-like virus earlier in September, WHO has monitored the novel coronavirus and worked closely with health authorities in the United Kingdom, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
About the Novel Coronavirus
Coronaviruses belong to a large family of viruses, which include those that cause severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and the common cold. A WHO spokesperson, Gregory Hartl, said earlier that although the novel virus belongs to the same family as what caused SARS in 2002 and 2003, they were distinctly different, “It is distinct from SARS at least in the fact that we’ve seen so far, it causes very rapid renal failure.”
WHO has completed the nucleic acid sequence of the virus and has uploaded it to Genbank. The testing protocol has also been published and health authorities have been invited to contact the laboratories developing diagnostic reagents and protocols.
The virus has killed one man and leaves another in critically ill condition. There have been no new cases reported. The origin of the virus is still unknown.
The two victims originated from Middle Eastern countries, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, only weeks before the Haji pilgrimage. The annual Haji pilgrimage to Mecca brings millions of people from all over the world to Saudi Arabia. The first official day of the pilgrimage season this year is 27th September.
The spread of disease during the Hajj has always been a concern. According to news reports today, Saudi authorities are requiring that pilgrims be vaccinated in order to be granted a visa.
WHO has concluded that the viral infection does not present a risk to people visiting Saudi Arabia and Qatar and has not recommend special screening procedures at points of entry at this time, nor does it recommend travel or trade restrictions be applied to Saudi Arabia or Qatar.