Portugal’s 1st ‘Chinese coronavirus suspect’ in isolation in Lisbon’s Curry Cabral hospital

Portugal’s 1st ‘Chinese coronavirus suspect’ is in isolation in Lisbon’s Curry Cabral hospital.

According to reports, the patient is stable.

Laboratory tests on whether his/ her condition is indeed due to the new strain of the virus that has already killed over 40 people in China, while infecting over 1,400, should be ready by tomorrow morning.

The patient appears to have become ill after returning to Portugal from China.

Says Diário de Notícias, he/ she spent time in the city of Wuhan – the “epicentre” of the outbreak that provokes a virulent type of pneumonia, attacking the elderly and those with compromised immune systems.

So far, we have been given very little information on Portugal’s first patient.

It is clear he/ she is an adult, as any children showing symptoms would have been admitted to Lisbon’s Dona Estefânia hospital.

On Friday, director general of health Graça Freitas said there were three ‘possible cases of the new coronavirus flagged in Portugal, but none had at that point passed through medical testing.

All those concerned had recently been in China, and returned manifesting various possible symptoms.

As to the capacity of Portuguese authorities to deal with this accelerating threat, Graça Freitas said it was “good, among the best in the world…”

Right now, China has put 17 towns and cities in lockdown, meaning around 50 million people are under quarantine.

This new strain of the coronavirus has nonetheless spread to at least 14 other countries, arriving in Europe on Friday when two cases were confirmed in France.

Say reports, there are around 20 Portuguese nationals in Wuhan. The government is considering evacuating them, but for now it is ‘awaiting developments’.

Coronaviruses are spread from animals to people. This one is believed to have originated in a Wuhan livestock market.

The real danger of this strain is that it appears to be mutating.

It has already made the leap from animal-to-human, to human-to-human. The resulting pneumonia however takes up to 14 days to ‘incubate’, meaning that people infected can pass a relatively long period of time without feeling ill, thus potentially infecting many others in the process.

DN calls the process a form of ‘silent contagion’ that is making this new strain extremely worrying.

Said the BBC this evening, the only way to stem the virus’ advance is to isolate people even if they have only mild symptoms which “could easily be confused with other diseases”.

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