Spain on maximum alert as woman is tested for China’s deadly coronavirus

SPAIN is once again on high alert after a woman has presented the symptoms of the deadly coronavirus.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health in the Basque Country stated that they have been notified of a suspected case of pneumonia in the region which has been linked to the virus. This is a woman who recently returned from the Wuhan Province in China and who is currently being kept in isolation at the University Hospital of Cruces.

It is understood that a blood test has been performed and sent to the National Microbiology Centre of Majadahonda, a laboratory specialised in undertaking these types of tests, where the results are due to return in the next 24-hours.
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Analysis is being carried out at the Microbiology Centre of Majadahonda in Spain. Credit: ISCIII.

The Department of Health have assured that they are implementing an action protocol in response to the heightened fears that this may be the very first case of the virus in Spain and will adopt preventive measures if the woman tests positive for the disease. This includes keeping the patient in isolation, contacting all individuals the woman has been in contact with and to activate an Emergency Health Alert with the Government’s Ministry of Health. 

Pending confirmation of the case, the Public Health Directorate of the Basque Government has implemented the action protocol and has already adopted the established preventive measures (isolation), as well as the beginning of the study of contacts in the environment of the affected person In addition, this suspicion has been brought to the Health Alert and Emergency Coordination Center of the Ministry of Health.

The Department of Health asks that civilians in the Basque region remain calm until the results are released as reaffirm that they are applying the necessary measures to ensure that if it is coronavirus, that it does not spread on a national level.  

In addition, they ask civilians to adopt hygienic measures to protect oneself against the spread of the disease, such as frequently washing one’s hands with soap.

Earlier this week, the Ministry of Health ruled out that there would be any controls at the country’s airports, insisting that the possibility of transmission to Spain, although probable, was “very low.”

Fernando Simón, the Director of the Centre for Health Coordination and Emergencies, assured that the measures China is currently adopting are greatly reducing the spread of the virus to other countries, adding that “it is not very likely that it can be imported into Spain when there are no direct flights to the Chinese city.”

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Temperatures are being checked at airports and train stations in China to reduce the virus from spreading. Credit: Ng Han Guan.

According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), coronaviruses are common worldwide and can cause mild to moderate diseases in people and in some instances be fatal. 

Coronaviruses are types of viruses that typically affect the respiratory tract of mammals, including humans and are associated with the common cold, pneumonia and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) that can also affect the gut. According to health studies, patients who present symptoms that include fever, a cough, shortness of breath and muscle pain should seek medical help immediately.

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Written by

Isha Sesay