The World Health Organization is not calling for a global emergency to be declared in connection to the new coronavirus that is mostly affecting parts of China.
On Jan. 23, the WHO announced that the number of reported cases has reached 846 and that 25 people have died from the virus. However, CBC reports that 41 people may have died.
There have been cases of the virus, now called 2019-nCov, showing up in neighbouring Japan, Thailand, South Korea and Singapore. Another two cases were reported in the United States.
The virus began in Wuhan but has quickly started spreading across most of China. Authorities in the country have shut down public transportation and started to quarantine infected cities. Many Lunar New Year events were also cancelled.
The new coronavirus comes from the same family as SARS, that killed several dozen people in Toronto back in 2003.
Lily Wever, a second-year Algonquin recreation and leisure services student, was 18 when the SARS outbreak hit. She remembers being hospitalized at the time and was quarantined.
“I got really sick when SARS was around,” Wever says. “Nurses came around in hazmat suits. My boyfriend couldn’t leave.”
After 12 hours doctors told her that what she had wasn’t SARS but just a flu. Despite this, she says she’s not worried about the latest reports.
“I think the media makes a big spectacle of things to scare people,” she says.
Belle Konink, also in recreation and leisure services, says she’s more concerned. Konink works at a long term care facility and says that something like 2019-nCov could end up at Algonquin.
“The school is a breeding ground for germs,” says Konink.
The WHO is warning that further international cases could still appear and countries should prepare for containment. There have been no confirmed cases of the virus appearing in Canada at this time.