Q&A on novel coronavirus with expert

Chinese health authorities announced Monday that 20,438 confirmed cases of pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

China’s State Council announced plans to extend the Lunar New Year holiday to Feb 2 as a key measure to control the novel coronavirus outbreak. According to the State Council notice, the start of the spring semester for all colleges, schools and kindergartens across the country will be suspended. The Education Department will issue separate notices about starting times.

Recently, Li Lanjuan, a member of the high-level expert team convened by the National Health Commission, and an academician with the Chinese Academy of Engineering, spoke with China Central Television about key issues of the novel coronavirus epidemic.

Q&A on novel coronavirus with expert
Q: Do people get infected during the incubation period of novel coronavirus?
A: I’ve been doing research on this and so far I have found that the virus is able to transmit during the incubation period. That’s why we put those having contact with infections within 14 days under medical observation and quarantine.

Q: Does the novel coronavirus only transmit through the respiratory tract?
A: The transmission through the respiratory tract is definite. Meanwhile, transmissions via blood, excrement and contaminated objects need to be verified.

Q: How do we distinguish between the common cold and novel coronavirus pneumonia?
A: The early symptoms of the two are similar, including fever, dry cough, respiratory symptoms, and fatigue after fever. Some even showed up in the digestive tract.
The most important way to distinguish it is by taking samples from throat swabs to test for the virus. The report clearly tells whether the tester is infected with H1N1, type B influenza or novel coronavirus. The reagent test kits are supposed to be accessible in designated hospitals.


Q: Can patients with milder symptoms stay at home for quarantine?
A: Recently a doctor reported he was cured by taking therapies at home on his own, which I think may work for him. As a doctor he knew medical knowledge and his own condition, so he didn’t fear the virus and had a good rest.
But it’s safer to go to hospital if you are lacking medical equipment, as a regular chest CT is needed to check if the infection is getting worse. If you are not medical personnel with a clear awareness of your physical condition and the inflammation develops quickly, you should go to a hospital for treatment.

Li Lanjuan also suggested that people try to avoid crowded places, wear masks outside, wash hands frequently and make sure your indoor air is circulating during Spring Festival.
At present, Jiangsu province has 28 designated hospitals for pneumonia treatment and 541 fever clinics.

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