Shadow cast over Spring Festival travel
The viral outbreak comes as Chinese citizens prepare to travel during Spring Festival in the biggest annual human migration on the planet. However, WHO hasn't recommended any restrictions on travel or trade.
On the other hand, Zhong, the health expert who also helped identify SARS during the outbreak, noted that there should be measures to prevent further spreading of the virus from Wuhan, such as setting up checkpoints in the city's transport hubs to check the body temperature of travelers. He also urged local governments to assume responsibility in curbing the disease, as more cases are to be expected during the festival travel rush.
"If you are already feeling sick, especially if you are in Wuhan, you are in no condition to be traveling at all," Zhong advised holiday travelers during Monday's press conference.
Wuhan officials have been using infrared thermometers to screen passengers at airports, railway stations and major transport hubs. Airports in the U.S. and other Asian countries are also screening passengers traveling from Wuhan.
Meanwhile, Chinese officials and health experts are using their experiences with the previous epidemics to deal with the Wuhan virus.
The country's National Health Commission has shared the genetic sequence of this novel coronavirus with WHO so that different actors can start developing specific diagnostic kits and treatment options. This collaborative approach by China with global organizations has been reassuring, WHO stated.
Cases of infection are likely to increase during this time of year, but even if that happens, people shouldn't panic, added Zeng Guang, another expert on the panel. "If we have learned our lessons from SARS, we should know that mass hysteria causes more damage than the disease itself," he said.