The Health Protection Agency (HPA) has begun preparations against an outbreak of a new strand of coronavirus coming out of China.
According to a press statement released by the HPA, an outbreak of pneumonia in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, of China has been linked to a "novel coronavirus" resulting in more than 142 reported cases since the epidemic began during December 2019.
Highlighting that Chinese authorities have confirmed two fatalities as a result of the infection, HPA states that it is highly likely that the virus has infected several food handlers and market workers as reports have attributed the outbreak to China's large seafood and animal markets, indicating that the virus may have originated from unsafe animal and food handling.
Hence, such markets in China have been temporarily shut down since January 1st.
HPA states that preparations for an outbreak of the virus in the Maldives are currently underway based on the recommendations of the WHO due to the high risk of an outbreak in the Maldives.
They further advise Maldivians travelling to China to take precautionary measures such as avoiding animals whether alive or dead, animal markets, and contact with sick people in addition to washing hands often.
Furthermore, any individual who has recently visited Wuhan City in China and find themselves with symptoms of the illness, such as feeling feverish, experiencing coughing or difficulty breathing, are advised to seek medical attention immediately, wear a mask and stay home except for medical care as well as to avoid contact with people and covering the mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve, taking care not to use your hands, while coughing or sneezing.
Additionally, when seeking medical attention, recent travellers are urged to provide their itinerary of the past 14 days to the medical provider, specifying all transit locations and countries they have visited.