The WHO has just announced a global health emergency on the coronavirus epidemic. This is largely in reaction to the fact that many developing countries are unable to monitor, track and treat the virus.
I have been following the matter closely and the best public information on the matter, in my opinion is found here at the BBC website: https://www.bbc.com/news/health-51048366
The core steps to help stop the spread of the virus are as follows: 1. Limiting people’s movement; 2. Encouraging hand-washing; and 3. Treating patients in isolation with healthcare workers wearing protective gear.
On item 1, the Wuhan and Hubei lockdown has helped to slow down the spread, albeit cases are now recorded in every single province in China. It has been reported that some 5 million people from Wuhan left the city (mostly for CNY) before the lockdown took effect. Many big Chinese cities have also taken similar steps. Schools holidays in China have been extended. People are encouraged to work from home. Some air travel restrictions have been imposed, the severity of this restriction will increase if the situation worsens. Thankfully, we are not at that point yet.
Also on item 1; each of us can help a bit by imposing some level of self restraint and self quarantine. In particular, if you have been exposed to people coming from or recently visited China, do limit your interaction in crowded spaces for the following 14 days.
My family met three sets of family and friends from Shanghai and Beijing during CNY (on or about 25th Jan). We have decided to limit our mingling in crowded areas for the following two weeks. Our kids are staying home and will only go back to school next week. I still go to my office but will avoid crowded events, if possible. I do go out and makan, but try not to go to very crowded places. I don’t wear a mask but have started washing my hands constantly and taking more vitamin C and zinc.
There is a lot of unnecessary fake news out there. On the other end of the spectrum, many people are also playing down the seriousness of the crisis. The truth is nobody knows if the China lock down policy will improve things. We will only know in the coming weeks, so during that period we can and should exercise more caution.