Quarantine bureau on heightened surveillance over new coronavirus strain

NOW that the mysterious viral pneumonia was recently identified in a preliminary investigation as a new type of coronavirus, an official of the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ)-Cebu assured the public that its heightened surveillance will continue.

Vernier Ceniza, BOQ Cebu assistant chief, said more information is needed to understand the new viral strain.

He added that information such as the virus’ source, incubation period, and mode of transmission, among others, are still left unanswered. Thus, further investigation is needed.

“Our heightened surveillance will continue. On our part, we would like to know its cause and how can it be treated. Ila pa nang iila pag-ayo ang incubation period, mode of transmission, is it through zoonosis (infectious disease caused by bacteria, viruses and parasites that spread between animals) or human transmission or water reservoir? Daghan pang utingkayon,” he told SunStar Cebu.

According to an Associated Press (AP) report, a preliminary investigation already identified the respiratory disease as a new type of coronavirus, Chinese state media reported on Thursday, January 9, 2020, citing scientists handling the investigation.

Since late last year, residents in Wuhan, China have been infected with a viral pneumonia whose cause was unknown.

“As of Sunday, local authorities reported 59 people with the illness. Seven were in critical condition, while the rest were stable. Eight were discharged Wednesday night after they didn’t exhibit any more symptoms for several days,” the report said.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses first identified in humans in the mid-1960s. Some cause the common cold, while others found in bats, camels and other animals have evolved into more severe illnesses.

The name comes from the Latin word “corona,” meaning a halo or crown, which the viruses resemble when viewed under a microscope. Many coronaviruses can spread through coughing or sneezing, or by touching an infected person, but officials said the present illness does not not transmit readily between people. (WBS with AP)