The mysterious coronavirus (Covid-19), which was first detected in China’s Wuhan city in December 2019, has spread to many countries, including Vietnam
A year from lockdown, Wuhan returns to normal life, but is still haunted by emotional scars.
A team of experts will begin interviewing people in the city where Covid-19 was first detected.
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A World Health Organization-led team investigating the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic was due on Monday to visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention of Hubei province, the central Chinese region where the outbreak emerged in late 2019.
The group of independent experts left two weeks of quarantine on Thursday in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province, and is conducting two weeks of field work. So far, it has included visits to hospitals, markets, and an exhibition commemorating Wuhan’s battle with the outbreak.
The WHO, which has sought to manage expectations for the mission, has said that team members would be limited to visits organized by their Chinese hosts and would not have any contact with community members, because of health restrictions.
No full itinerary for the group’s field work has been announced, and journalists covering the tightly controlled visit have been kept at a distance from team members according to Reuters.
What we know so far about the COVID-19 pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic, also known as the coronavirus pandemic, is an ongoing pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). It was first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan, China.
The World Health Organization declared the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern in January 2020 and a pandemic in March 2020. As of 31 January 2021, more than 102 million cases have been confirmed, with more than 2.22 million deaths attributed to COVID-19.
Symptoms of COVID-19 are highly variable, ranging from none to severe illness. The virus spreads mainly through the air when people are near each other.[b] It leaves an infected person as they breathe, cough, sneeze, or speak and enters another person via their mouth, nose, or eyes. It may also spread via contaminated surfaces. People remain infectious for up to two weeks, and can spread the virus even if they do not show symptoms.
Recommended preventive measures include social distancing, wearing face masks in public, ventilation and air-filtering, hand washing, covering one’s mouth when sneezing or coughing, disinfecting surfaces, and monitoring and self-isolation for people exposed or symptomatic.
Several vaccines are being developed and distributed. Current treatments focus on addressing symptoms while work is underway to develop therapeutic drugs that inhibit the virus. Authorities worldwide have responded by implementing travel restrictions, lockdowns, workplace hazard controls, and facility closures. Many places have also worked to increase testing capacity and trace contacts of the infected.
The responses to the pandemic have resulted in global social and economic disruption, including the largest global recession since the Great Depression. It has led to the postponement or cancellation of events, widespread supply shortages exacerbated by panic buying, agricultural disruption and food shortages, and decreased emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases. Many educational institutions have been partially or fully closed. Misinformation has circulated through social media and mass media. There have been incidents of xenophobia and discrimination against Chinese people and against those perceived as being Chinese or as being from areas with high infection rates.