Coronavirus Word on the Week 22nd February 2020.
This virus which started in the Wuhan Provence of China in December 2019 has proved to be hard to control. It is in the same family of viruses as ‘saars’ (largely in the US from 2002 to 2004) and ‘mers’ (mainly in the middle east in 2012). It now has the name Covid-19.
It produces respiratory symptoms which can be incubated in a person for up to a fortnight. The start of the outbreak has been traced to an open air market in Wuhan where fish and live animals are in close contact with people. These conditions would have given the mutated corona virus ample opportunity to spread. It is now in all 31 provinces in China.
At the end of December, a group of doctors in Wuhan were examining a large number of patients exhibiting flu like symptoms. Indications were that the results were being kept quiet by Government order. Dr Li Wen Liang, one of the team studying the disease turned whistleblower and attempts were made to silence him. The rapid spread of the virus required lockdown of Wuhan which coincided with public opinion learning via social media of the attempt to silence the doctor.
All this led to the Government apologising and many more cities being put in quarantine. Two large field hospitals have been built in Wuhan in record time. Many additional medical staff have been assigned to the city and seven cruise ships have sailed up the Yangtze river and moored in Wuhan to accommodate them.
Cruise liners are particularly vulnerable and the Diamond Princess now moored in Japan waters has been quarantined with its passengers confined to their cabins for 14 days. The UK along with other countries who have nationals on board are flying them home but with a further two-week period in quarantine when they arrive. A miserable end to their holiday!
Global health officials are worried as the latest cases of the virus have shown up in Italy and affect people who had no link with China or contact with a confirmed case. A plane from China was picketed when it touched down in Ukraine. This fear is contrasted with the actions of Dr Li who returned to work in the hospital, eventually caught the disease and died on 7th February. He was a believer and quoted this text as he died. “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing (2 Timothy Chapter 4 verses 7/8).
May God grant to all who believe a like courage when we come to be tested.