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18 Jan, 2020 05:07

India issues travel advisory out of ‘abundant caution’ as new coronavirus takes hold in China

India issues travel advisory out of ‘abundant caution’ as new coronavirus takes hold in China

Indians traveling to and from China have been warned of a dangerous new virus on the move in the country, with officials boosting security and health screenings at Indian airports in an effort to catch new cases of the illness.

The emergent coronavirus – related to the lethal SARS pathogen – has struck scores of people across China, hitting the city of Wuhan the hardest, with up to 40 confirmed cases, prompting the Indian Ministry of Health to issue a travel advisory on Friday.

While the World Health Organization has assessed the infection as “low” risk, India's health ministry warned anyone traveling to China “as a matter of abundant precaution.”

The mode of transmission of the disease is unclear as of now. However, so far there is little evidence of significant human-to-human transmission.

The advisory follows a similar decision by US health officials, who began screenings for the bug at three major airports on Friday afternoon after it claimed its second casualty in Wuhan.

Also on rt.com Passengers at 3 major US airports to be screened for deadly Chinese VIRUS

While India’s health officials stressed the move was merely a precautionary safeguard, researchers at the MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis at Imperial College in London estimated that there could be as many as 1,723 cases in Wuhan alone, dwarfing the few dozen confirmed patients.

Several other suspected cases of the virus have cropped up elsewhere in Asia, with reports of the illness in Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong and South Korea, largely involving people who had recently traveled to Wuhan.

Also on rt.com Lethal SARS-linked coronavirus claims first life as China’s pneumonia outbreak infects dozens

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