As Coronavirus Explodes in China, Countries Struggle to Control Its Spread

The time to prevent more epidemics is now, and countries are trying to seize the moment.

The New York Times
Date: Jan. 29, 2020
By: Denise Grady

A patient was helped off an ambulance in Wuhan, China, on Sunday.Credit…Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Australians flown home from Wuhan, China, will be quarantined on an island for two weeks. Americans, also evacuated from Wuhan, will be “temporarily housed” on an air base in California. And in South Korea, the police have been empowered to detain people who refuse to be quarantined.

For countries outside China, the time to prevent an epidemic is now, when cases are few and can be isolated. They are trying to seize the moment to protect themselves against the coronavirus outbreak, which has reached every province in China, sickening more than 7,700 people and killing 170.

More than a dozen nations with a handful of cases — including the United States — are isolating patients and monitoring their contacts, as well as screening travelers from China and urging people to postpone trips there.

But whether this virus can be contained depends on factors still unknown, like just how contagious it is and when in the course of the infection the virus starts to spread.

China, with nearly 1.4 billion people, is the most populous nation on Earth, and it has taken extreme measures to try to stop the disease, first reported in December in Wuhan, a city of 11 million. The government has stopped travel in and out of that city and surrounding ones, effectively locking down tens of millions of people.    [FULL  STORY]