The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Authorities of the People's Republic of China, below of some cases of viral pneumonia recorded in the city of Wuhan, in the Chinese province of Hubei, have confirmed that it has been identified a new Coronavirus (nCov-2019).
Cases of diffusion of the coronavirus have been subsequently identified also in other areas of China A limited number of coronavirus patients were registered also outside China. Local health authorities promptly identified coronavirus cases and have ordered the necessary medical surveillance.

In Italy, the Ministry of Health has opened a toll free infoline telephone number 1500 and set up protocols for sanitary monitoring.

 

The cases in Lombardy

On February 21, the Lombardy Region reported six positive cases for the Covid-19 test.

The procedure for checking and identifying the contacts was immediately started.

The situation and indications for the local population on the Lombardy Region site (in italian)

Regarding cases in Lombardy: The Istituto Superiore di Sanità in Rome confirmed the first positive case at Sacco Hospital in Milano Two other people are positive to the test.

Lombardy Region in close collaboration with ISS and the Ministry of Health has launched investigations into patients contacts in order to take the necessary preventive measures. A similar outbreak had already occurred in Germany and was contained relatively quickly.

In addition to hospital or home isolation of cases and mandatory isolation of close contacts of a positive case, the control measures adopted by the Ministry of Health also provide active surveillance with home permanence for those who have been in risk areas for the last 14 days.

A priority is represented by the identification of the source of infection on which, however, there is still no certainty, the need for any further measures will depend on this the alert level is very high and local authorities have already implemented important investigations and control measures in collaboration with all the institutions involved. source: Ministry of Health (Situation in update)

1. What is a coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses known to cause diseases ranging from the common cold to more serious diseases such as Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome (MERS) and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).

2. What is a new coronavirus?

A new coronavirus ( CoV ) is a new coronavirus strain that has never previously been identified in humans.  

3. Can Humans become infected with a new animal-derived coronavirus?

Detailed investigations have found that, in China in 2002, SARS- CoV was transmitted from civet cats to men and, in Saudi Arabia in 2012, MERS- CoV from dromedaries to men. Numerous known coronaviruses circulate in animals that have not yet infected humans. As surveillance improves worldwide, more coronaviruses are likely to be identified.

4. What are the symptoms of a person infected with a coronavirus?

It depends on the virus, but the most common symptoms include fever, cough, breathing difficulties. In severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death. 

5. Can coronaviruses be transmitted from person to person?

Yes, some coronaviruses can be transmitted from person to person, usually after close contact with an infected patient, for example among family members or in a healthcare setting.

6. Is there a vaccine for a new coronavirus?

No, being a new disease, there is still no vaccine and to achieve one, the times can also be relatively long.

7. Is there treatment for a new coronavirus?

There is no specific treatment for disease caused by a new coronavirus. Treatment should be based on the patient's symptoms. Supportive care can be very effective. 

8. What can I do to protect myself?

Protect yourself: WHO and Italian authorities advices in relation to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus nCoV

·         Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water;

·         When coughing and sneezing cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or a tissue – throw tissue away immediately and wash hands;

·         Avoid close contact with anyone who has fever and cough;

·         If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early and share previous travel history with your health care provider;

·         The consumption of raw or undercooked animal products should be avoided. Raw meat, milk or animal organs should be handled with care, to avoid cross-contamination with cooked foods, as per normal good food safety practices: use separate surfaces, containers and tools for raw animal products, and wash your hands and tools before manipulating cooked food.

Do I have to wear a mask to protect myself?

The World Health Organization recommends wearing a surgical mask only if you suspect you have contracted the new Coronavirus and are experiencing symptoms such as coughing or sneezing or if you are caring for a person with suspected new Coronavirus infection.

The use of the mask helps to limit the spread of the virus but must be adopted in addition to other measures of respiratory and hand hygiene.

It is not useful to wear multiple overlapping masks.

How should I put on and remove the mask?

Here's how to do it: before putting on the mask, wash your hands with soap and water or with an alcoholic solution; cover your mouth and nose with the mask making sure it fits tightly on your face.

Avoid touching the mask while you wear it. If you touch it, wash your hands when it gets wet, replace it with a new one and do not reuse it; those they are single-use masks. Remove the mask holding it from the elastic and do not touch the front of the mask; throw it immediately in a sealed bag and wash your hands.

9. What is Recommended for Traveling?

Postpone travel to affected areas if not strictly necessary (China's risk areas are available on the WHO website).

The current outbreak originated in Wuhan city, which is a major domestic and international transport hub. Given the large population movements, and the observed human to human transmission, it is not unexpected that new confirmed cases will continue to appear in other areas and countries. With the information currently available for the novel coronavirus, WHO advises that measures to limit the risk of exportation or importation of the disease should be implemented, without unnecessary restrictions of international traffic.

It is also recommended to:

  • avoid visiting markets for fresh food of animal origin and live animals
  • avoid contact with people who have respiratory symptoms
  • wash your hands frequently with water and soap or alcoholic solution.

If developing respiratory symptoms (cough, sore throat, breathing difficulties) while in risk areas, seek immediate medical attention.

If in the two weeks following the return from risk areas, respiratory symptoms appear (fever, dry cough, sore throat, breathing difficulties), as a precaution:

  • contact the free telephone number of the Ministry of Health 1500
  • wear a surgical mask if you are in contact with other people
  • use disposable tissues and wash your hands regularly.

On your return, if you are not a citizen living in Italy, for any need, contact the Embassy or Consulate of your country.

     

    10. Where are the 2019-nCoV infections occurring?

    A cluster of pneumonia cases of unknown etiology in the city of Wuhan, in the Chinese province of Hubei, was reported, on December 31, 2019, by the Municipal Health Commission of Wuhan (China) to the WHO. Most of the cases had an epidemiological link with the Huanan Seafood market in southern China, a wholesale market for seafood and live animals. On January 9, 2020, the Chinese Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported that a new coronavirus (2019-nCoV) was identified as the causative agent and the genomic sequence was made public.

    Cases of 2019-nCoV confirmed in China and cases imported from other countries of the world have been reported (see on the WHO website: situation report ) Among the cases, deaths have also been reported. Chinese health authorities have confirmed human-to-human transmission outside Hubei province and confirmed cases have also been reported among healthcare professionals 

    11. What are the risks of propagation in Europe?

    The risk assessment by WHO is considered very high in China, high at regional and global level.

    12. How do you get this coronavirus?

    Human-to-human transmission has been confirmed, but more information is needed to assess the extent of this transmission mode . The source of the infection is unknown and may still be active. Therefore, the probability of infection for travelers visiting Wuhan who have close contact with symptomatic individuals is considered moderate.

    13 .What to do if you have recently stayed in risk areas?

    If in the two weeks following the return from risk areas, respiratory symptoms (fever, dry cough, sore throat, breathing difficulties) should occur as a precaution:

    - contact the free telephone number of the Ministry of Health 1500
    - wear a surgical mask if you are in contact with other people
    - use disposable tissues and wash your hands regularly.

    14. What to do if you have stayed in a hospital where a sick person has been hospitalized?

    The risk of transmission exists only if you have been in close and prolonged contact with the patient. In addition, patients suffering from new Coronavirus infection are hospitalized in separate environments from other patients. To date, no new coronavirus infection has been reported in hospital or other healthcare facilities.

    15. What monitoring strategy has been introduced for this virus on a national level?

    In Italy, there is a surveillance network of serious acute respiratory infections (SARI) and acute respiratory distress syndromes (ARDS).

    The situation is constantly monitored by the Ministry, which is in constant contact with WHO and ECDC, and promptly publishes any new updates on its portal.

    16. What specific health measures for travelers has been launched in our country?

    All flights from Wuhan have been canceled. The Chinese New Year celebrations in late January will increase the volume of trips to / from China and within China, thereby increasing the probability of cases arriving in the EU.

    Checks are made on all flights from China, which include measuring the temperature and gathering information from citizens.

    Investigation of the epidemic is ongoing and as it is an emerging and rapidly evolving situation, the information will be updated whenever there is relevant information .

    Information material has been prepared to be posted at airports to inform international travelers.

    17. Where can I find more information on the new Coronavirus?

    The Ministry of Health has created a dedicated website: www.salute.gov.it/nuovocoronavirus and the public utility number 1500 has been activated