Government alerts travellers to Far East of new coronavirus

By TPN/Lusa, in News · 22-01-2020 17:38:00 · 0 Comments

The government on Wednesday alerted Portuguese travelling to China and nearby areas to be aware of the evolution of the new coronavirus and recommended tourists and residents to register with the consulate.

"It is recommended that travelers to the region remain attentive to the communications published on the portals of the General Direction of Health, of the European Center of Prevention and Control of Illnesses and of the WHO", informs the Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the portal of the Portuguese communities.

The government also advises travellers "to register their journeys in the Traveller Registration application" and residents to update their consular registration”.

The information on the portal indicates that the Chinese health authorities and the WHO have confirmed the existence of an outbreak of pneumonia, caused by a new coronavirus.

The outbreak originated in December 2019 in Wuhan, Hubei province, and "hundreds” of cases in different regions of China (Wuhan, Guangdong, Beijing, Shanghai) have been confirmed, as well as in Thailand, Japan and South Korea.

The Macau authorities also announced today that the first case of the virus has been identified in the territory, while Hong Kong has detected a suspicious case, but confirmation will not be final until Thursday.

Although the portal includes warnings for other diseases in the Asian region, the Secretariat of State of the Communities recalls that, in general, "sanitary conditions outside large cities and other more developed areas are sometimes rudimentary".

Therefore, the Portuguese are advised not to consume street food and not to drink tap water.

The ministry recalls that Portugal's diplomatic representation in China is provided by the Portuguese embassy in Beijing and advises that, in case of emergency, the number +86 186 1208 7488 should be contacted.

The virus was initially detected last month in Wuhan, a city in central China, a major domestic and international transport hub.

The number of cases has increased rapidly and there are now 440 confirmed cases, according to the deputy director of China's National Health Commission.

Nine people have died, all in Hubei province, whose capital is Wuhan.

Outside China, cases of the new coronavirus have been confirmed in South Korea, the United States, Japan, Thailand, Taiwan and now Macau.

The cases fuel fears about a potential epidemic, similar to atypical pneumonia, or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which between 2002 and 2003 killed 650 people in mainland China and Hong Kong.

The outbreak comes at a time when millions of Chinese are travelling on the occasion of the Lunar New Year, the main celebration of Chinese families, equivalent to Christmas in Western countries. According to the Chinese transport ministry, the country is expected to record a total of three billion domestic trips over the next 40 days.


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