COVID-19 … IC17269212

Coronavirus: World should prepare for pandemic, says WHO

Worrying signs, with infections in quite a few countries now with no proven connection to China including Italy, and with DR being a big tourist destination, the probability of it coming here is perhaps quite high.

It is another strain of flu about which not everything is known and could die out in the warmer months but it just isn't known. Various strains of flu kill every year and we all should be aware of the symptoms.

I do hope the DR government takes note of the WHO news conference this morning and prepares itself just in case for what they say could be an 'eventual pandemic'..

What is coronavirus and what are the symptoms?

A virus causing severe lung disease that started in China has spread to 27 other countries, including the UK.

The coronavirus had infected 77,234 people in China as of 24 February, with 2,594 of them dying.
What are the symptoms?

It seems to start with a fever, followed by a dry cough.

After a week, it leads to shortness of breath and some patients require hospital treatment. Notably, the infection rarely seems to cause a runny nose or sneezing. … 640-nc.png

As I understand it the gov't is taking preventative measures.

And lets remember,  normal flu kills many more people every single year. … oronavirus

Basically they are applying self quarantine to people who have come from affected countries......27 at present. No cases yet.

But apparently they are checking where people have been on arrival at airports. Not sure if they are checking temperatures etc or asking the basic questions on fever.

WHO is asking that countries be ready for a pandemic. That would involve isolation hospitals or isolating towns. I doubt if DR will be able to handle the challenge. Take Italy as an example which is struggling and is trying to find the super donor who has been spreading the virus.

And again let's not start guessing at what may happen.  The govt I am sure is paying attention and will do what they can.

I  am also sure  thousands here will "have" it cause you know, of course they will. gets here,.it will spread.  Same as many many other countries! 

Those who need to worry are the old and very young and those with other conditions or compromised immune systems.  Those of us healthy are likely to get flu symptoms from mild to severe.

To  continue, there is no treatment or prevention.  No antibiotics even if you have the pneumonia as it is viral NOT bacterial.

At risk are those old young and already sick. 

You do not need to be exposing others to any virus right now.  If you get the current flu making the rounds, stay home!  Dont share the damn germs!

The Ministry of Public Health is posting information on COVID- 19 on their website.

And yes, the MOPH did send a technician to a recent WHO workshop to understand how to detect the virus so DR does have that capability:

SANTO DOMINGO.- The country can diagnose coronavirus 2019 disease (COVID-19), using molecular technology, using the real-time Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR-rT) technique existing for influenza and other respiratory viruses, according to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), which trained professionals in the region, including the Dominican Republic, in the detection and timely diagnosis of the disease.

To that end, a specialist from the National Public Health Laboratory “Dr. Defilló (LNSPDD), is Nurys De Castro, bioanalyst and in charge of detection and diagnosis of influenza and other respiratory viruses, participated in the workshop, "Laboratory diagnosis and detection of the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2" that was developed accordingly to the recommendations of PAHO / WHO to guarantee the identification and timely response to the disease before a suspected case in the Region.

The graduate From Castro, he acquired knowledge that will allow him to train his colleagues so that they are prepared to carry out the diagnostic tests if there is a suspicious case of COVID -19 and thus have results as soon as possible.

The workshop was held from February 12 to 13, 2020, in Mexico, which was attended by virologists from Central American countries: Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua, as well as Cuba and the Dominican Republic.

Participants received training in the main tests and protocols to detect and diagnose COVID-19 disease using molecular technology, which was directed by PAHO experts. The laboratories selected for training were those that have already established virological surveillance of influenza and other respiratory viruses; where detection tests for this new coronavirus can be quickly implemented using existing molecular detection platforms.

Directorate General for Strategic Communication
February 20, 2020

The outbreak in Lombardy Italy is proving to be a worry.

A doctor from that region went on holiday to Tenerife and had the disease and a large resort hotel there is now on lockdown. UK schoolkids who went on a skiing holiday in northern Italy are now on lockdown in UK having returned from their trip.

Milan is in that region and us home to a large Dominican population. Also about 100,000 Italians visit DR as tourists each year (compared to very few Chinese) with flights from Milan direct to DR.

We need to be aware of the symptoms and basic precautions. I was doubtful of the disease reaching here before but less so now and I've bought my face masks.

Just to add as planner has said, it is a virus and another form of flu that affects the less healthy including old people and those with respiratory conditions and is not as potent as SARS or MERS which had death rates of 10%. Not all is known yet (patient zero has not be identified) and the death rate is between 1% and 2% compared with flu at 1%. There is no cure yet albeit one potential medicine has been identified and is being tested. Having a flu shot may help according to MOPH. Beach apparently kills the virus instantly according to reports so Dominican 'bleached households' may be beneficial.

I returned yesterday from South America to the US via Atlanta airport. Over the last 2 months I traveled throughout Peru, Chile and Argentina by way of plane, train and airplane and not once was I asked or screened about my current health, including in Atlanta.

I arrived 4 hours prior to my flight as I was expecting to be screened before leaving, but was not. In Atlanta, the only screening I received as to ensure I was not bring an fruit or vegetables into the US. I was very disappointed to see the lack of concern by the US. And it was not because I was coming form SA as there were several other international flights arriving at the same time.

Only a few days ago it was a problem with people coming from China and the infected parts near Wuhan.

But now we have significant outbreaks in South Korea, Iran and Italy with no clear link back to China - no zero patient identified. As mentioned the spike in Italy is already spreading and cases reported all around the country and abroad from an infected Italian couple on vacation (the Canary Islands). The doctor and his wife were in a resort of hundreds of tourists for six days before being diagnosed with the infection and hundreds of tourists have gone home on airplanes to their home countries since. The infections from Iran are spreading to the rest of the Middle East including UAE which is a massive international air hub. South Korea has extensive flight networks with many countries and are a mobile population.

There lies the problem. Countries are reacting after the event having focused on China links/visits.

The WHO was right to be worried and warn countries to be ready for a pandemic.

South America apparently has no cases to date, nor the Caribbean, and this in part may be as a result no direct links to China but also a lack of capability detecting the virus.

The region now has to be aware of potential carriers from many more countries with the initial signs of an infection not becoming evident for several days.

We shouldn't panic after all is is another strain of flu, but awareness is important and the Dominican press is beginning to pick up the batten with more reporting about the infection but not wishing to spread panic.

Would be a great excuse to limit peaceful demonstrations!

I agree with you completely. This virus is spread just like the Flu does every year. The difference is, in the past the Flu season in the US would start in November in the Western States and move East with peak of the season being in February. However, with increase travel, the East Coast is seeing an earlier cases of the annual flu. We now give annual flu vaccinations starting October 1st till end of March in my hospital. I personally try to hold off getting the vaccination till mid November as its effectiveness decreases after 90 days or so.

Planner is absolutely correct that people sick should stay home. This new virus is especially dangerous to those who are autoimmune compromised. If you have walking pneumonia, a respiratory infection, the flu, or any other infection and catch this virus, you are going to have an extended recovery period or worse.

I do not want to paint a picture of gloom and doom. The DR is a great place and I know all will be ok. Go out and enjoy yourself.

There is no reason to stay away from here. In fact lots of reasons to visit.  IF this continues spreading people will be at risk pretty much everywhere!  That is reality.

This virus is deadlier then the flu.  You are currently far more likely to get the flu.  That could change.  But for now this is where we are!

Good post!👍

I'd say that at this particular time, it's really important to stay rational about this all and to look at the facts based on both science and medicine. As well as of course probably individuals taking better care of their health to boost their immune systems and of course implementing the hygiene tips which we have heard (hand washing/ hand gel etc). Cleanliness goes a long way!! I think it's important for people to be careful not to fall into hysteria over this. We need to also be mindful that there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding the movement of CONVID-19 and accurate information relating to death tolls/ infection is not always given.

In the UK (for example) we were told that 9 people had the virus. It turns out 8 Brits were tested and all 8 came back negative after their quarantine.. Therefore at that time theoretically no Britain's had it in the entire country. Then a Chinese national (who had flown in directly from China) was tested positive.
Now we are being told that 4 Brits (our of all the millions of people in the UK)  have tested positive for the virus - who had all been stuck on a cruise ship where the virus had spread rapidly in a confined space. They are in quarantine and the rest of the millions of Britain's have not got the virus and the risk is (as of now) "low". But they are still saying that in Britain 13 people are suspectes of CONVID-19..

I for one have no plans to cancel any trip to the Caribbean/ DR --- Unless it becomes apparent that the region is not safe to go to and then of course my common sense will kick in!

I think we should all take a calm moment to remember that this not the first time that we have had a contagious viral disease which has affected/ killed (unfortunately) many and it certainly is not the first time the world has seen an epidemic..

Are we forgetting the AIDS epidemic of the 1980's which had a mortality rate of 100% upon infection? Whereas this particular virus only has a fatality rate of 1-2% and that greatly depends on previous existing factors from person to person (general health, immune system, age, which country they live in, exposure, any previous existing health conditions etc...).

We also need to remember that from experience with other "coronaviruses" similar to this (SARS, H1N1, Bird Flu, Swine Flu, MEARS, Ebola etc) all of these viruses came with great force, created uncertainty and fear, had no vaccine available or ready at the time until after fatalities, caused mass panic (mostly stirred up by media and misinformation) yet, within a relatively short space of time went away.. Does anyone ever speak of SARS anymore (which apparently also originated in China)..?  Nope! I never even knew MEARS existed until recently and Bird Flu is no a long distant memory.

The saving grace which I guess can be taken from this is that scientists and those working within the field of designing vaccinations now at least have better experience, knowledge and are able to work more effectively at producing vaccines to treat and hopefully eliminate these viruses. As well as science and man made medicines/ vaccines, sometimes nature simply has to take its course and we all need to do better at implanting good practices of cleanliness as individuals and society.
Governments definitely need to be stricter with border control and flights incoming from high risk areas of CONVID-19 possibly??

Let's all hope that this will be another similar event such as SARS, which eventually became obsolete (to my knowledge) through rigourous containment of the virus stopping it from spreading, developing a vaccine quickly and the virus simply burning itself out so to speak.

I really hope that the DR and other neighbouring Caribbean/ Latin American countries will make every effort to have tighter border controls and be fully prepared to deal with this..

Just to point out that the cases in Italy were linked to China as the first people to be tested positive were either Chinese and Chinese Italians (big Chinese and Asian communities in Italy especially in Rome and Milan) nationals returning from China into Italy (Rome as well as northern Italy)  or those who had come into contact with those who had been to China/ Asia and had unfortunately passed it on to others.

The cases in Iran were all linked back to China as Iranian students who had been studying there had been flown back to Iran and had been contagious to others and as such passed on the infection unfortunately. Therefore 50+ cases of death and hundreds (supposedly)  infected.

It seems that any person who had had contact with a sufferer of the virus is immediately contagious and risks passing it on.

From what I've read literally all the cases have had a link back to China or back to those who have had visits to neighbouring Asian countries (Thailand, Singapore,  Malaysia, S Korea)..In France apparently it had spread due to people being in contact again with those who may have been contagious or who had been on particular trips.

In Italy, apparently those who have died from it have either been foreign nationals or those who are very elderly. I think Italy may not have had the best preparation or protocol for containing the virus as it is sadly spreading quickly through the refugee community there.

Let's hope it never reaches DR or the Caribbean 🙏

Two good posts. Thank you! 

Wash your hands people.  That is the lesson today.  And goodness gracious tell everyone you know to do so as well.

You may be right about all cases being linked back to China but as of yesterday the Italian authorities had not identified patient zero according to various media outlets
including CNN, the Times etc.. ( … index.html )

Very little is known about the Iranian outbreak which appears unreported other than it appears to have centred on Qom which is a place of Shia worship, that said one wonders how Han Chinese are linked, my guess would be a trader from Iran having visited China.

The real problem for DR is that at this time of year some 12 thousand plus Italians visit on vacation each month and there is an incubation period of several days, as the Tenerife hotel incidence from an infected couple shows.

The protocol is to self isolate at home or would be to lock down hotels here too if a guest is infected which would be a disaster for the travel industry.

The next few days will be revealing. There is no easy end to this worldwide other than no new infections for 28 days which is surely a long time away for China and now other countries too. And the big effect will be economic as the stock market reactions are now  showing.

The USA is now warning of the inevitable arrival of the virus there. … e_hero_hed

My great hope is that if it comes here, it gets contained and away from the population at large. And that the warmer climate is a hindrance to it's existence.

Centre for Disease Control and Prevention advice: … tment.html

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
Stay home when you are sick.
Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to  others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
For information about handwashing, see CDC’s Handwashing website

For information specific to healthcare, see CDC’s Hand Hygiene in Healthcare Settings

These are everyday habits that can help prevent the spread of several viruses. CDC does have specific guidance for travelers.

I'd agree on your last point and hopefully the warm weather in the DR will not encourage the virus to settle!
London also gets a huge influx of Italians in the summer around may onwards as the weather in centre and south of Italy gets unbearably hot!
Hopefully by then the virus would have already been contained if not gone. Fingers and everything else crossed!!

I'd also point out that here in the UK we receive an influx of various news reports and I know that different countries receive news and updates at different times. Yet here at least in the UK the Iran incidents have been confirmed and there are officially only 4 British people so far who tested positive, 8 tested negative.

I think the main confusing issue possibly is the lack of transparency at times and then on the other extreme side, the continual repetition of reports which I feel elevates anxiety within the masses.

Apparently the UK, US and Canada (specifically)  are very safe and well prepared.

You have a good point that March will be a month which will tell us a lot. Let's see..

There are so many things happening in the world, nobody needs another misfortune or epidemic to cause yet more sadness.

In the meantime id say people stay 'safe' and sanitary. Keeping oneself clean, hands disinfected and keeping ones home/ car/ workspace, home and family environment etc really  clean  helps a lot as antibacterial solutions apparently kill the bacteria carrying the virus.?? I wouldn't be surprised to see a huge spike in sales of cleaning products and anti - bac!

Hopefully it will burn itself out quickly and we can all focus on the good occurrences, events and beauty which the world has to offer :)

We can only hope for that.

First case confirmed in South America....Brazil. … a-11943575

According to BBC Mundo, this could be a posible case not confirmed: … a-51641436

DR is upping it's preparedness for CONVID-19: … oronavirus

According to the article there are 'health facilities' established in Punta Cana, La Romana and Puerto Plata airports.

La Romana has the most flights direct from Milan, but we are beyond that with infections spreading in other European countries.

I was thinking back to the SARS epidemic when I can recall that South East Asian countries had heath check points on arrival where you were asked questions about your current health and were head scanned with a temperature gun. National Geographic had and interesting article recently on the success rates for these health check points in various countries and whilst Singapore was very good, many countries were detecting less than 50% of the infected.

We wait and watch.

I have a friend from Rome who lives in Casa de Campo and has a retail store in the La Romana International Airport. She has expressed increasing concern about exposure to the virus. She is also selling masks in her store. There is a direct flight from Italy arriving weekly.

I just read in Listin Diario they are preventing passengers from leaving a cruise ship docked in La Romana with 8 suspected cases on board. … oronavirus

My friend from Rome also has a retail both at the cruise ship terminal. Stock markets and oil continue to melt down around the world today....

So it appears that those safeguards are working.  Suspected cadeseans they don't come in.

They increased screening from Italy

There isn't a whole lot more you can do at this point. 

And masks are a waste of money unless you are sick.  They don't prevent you from getting the virus

The La Romana Tourism Authority is not allowing anyone off the ship. I wonder if that ship will sail tomorrow? Another ship is booked to dock here tomorrow....

I am sure they will.

The Dominican newspaper "Diariolibre" is stating that the Dominican government has just issued a prohibition notice on any flights from Italy into the D.R. for 30 days.

That is going to hurt some hotels but is likely a smart move. … IM17398154

DR has it's first confirmed case of a 62 year old Italian who came here on 22nd February without symptoms but has since developed symptoms and is in isolation in Hospital Ramon de Lara in the air force base in San Isidro.

He will have been in contact with others including those with whom he flew here so the likely hood of more infections is real. Doesn't say where he was staying.

I flew out to New York on Thursday and back the following day, and saw no evidence of any specific measures being taken at both SDQ and JFK to screen medically passengers arriving/departing.

There is also a French national in the same hospital with symptoms of the virus and they are awaiting test results. Is there a link?

62 countries now have confirmed cases as listed in article: … oronavirus

It appears to me that too many countries are behind the curve in addressing the risk of spread. There are cases in almost every European country and many in Asia but only now are they talking of medical screening at departure and arrival from the worst affected countries. Ultimately the only way to stop the spread is isolation and being in airports, aircraft and crowds don't fit that idea.

It will be interesting to see how DR deals with this first case. full marks for getting him into an isolation hospital designated for this virus. But are they checking on all his contacts, where he was staying and all the passengers who flew on his flight into the country?

He arrived through La Romana airport and they are tracing contacts according to Diario Libre.

He apparently came in Feb 24 so there are literally thousands of people to check. 

There is a second person now from France apparently as well. 

Reality is, it was going to happen.  Eventually this was spreading here.

Now we all practice good self care. Wash your hands. Stay away from sick people and recent arrivals.  If you are sick stay home.

And please don't spread rumors. … e-bayahibe

The Italian who has the virus was staying in Bayahibe in Viva Dominicus Beach. Now the waiting begins to see if there is a spread domestically through staff contracting too.

You know everyone on the inbound plane is now suspect, all the hotel staff, other guests, transport or friends depending how he got to hotel,. Anyone he had contact with over about a week in country.

Then each of those people who may have contracted the virus may have already been sharing it.

They all have to be quarantined! And they aren't.

Not enough is known about the incubation period and when it is contagious and easily spread.

Now, we ride it out!  Wash your hands.  Stay away from groups and sick people. If you are sick stay home!

Just been reading that Viva Dominicus Beach is following the protocol established by Ministry of Health and that obviously does not involve isolating the hotel as has happened in other countries.

Makes me suspect there is a political motive to this so as not to affect tourism here generally.

But bottom line as you say is that there are now hundreds, maybe more people who have come into contact or near vicinity of the affected person and could become infected.

Surely some form of isolation is essential to limit and slow down the spread?

Ecuador had it's first case after DR but now has 5. Maybe an indication of how this will unfold in Latin America with lower detection capabilities.

Extract from BBC News updates on the CONVID-19:

Why aren't temperatures being checked at Heathrow?

Reality Check

Airport worker checks temperature at Jakarta Airport
Getty ImagesCopyright: Getty Images

A caller to BBC Radio 4's Any Answers programme over the weekend said she was just back from a tour of Asia, and that while her temperature had been checked at airports in Thailand, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Singapore, there were no checks when she returned to Heathrow.

Screening at airports is an issue for Public Health England, who told us that they had introduced "enhanced monitoring" for passengers arriving from countries such as China, Iran, Japan and Malaysia, but not temperature checks.

"Expert advice suggests clinical entry screening (for example through temperature checks) would be of very limited effectiveness and detect only a small minority of cases as symptoms," they said.

"This is because symptoms do not usually appear until 5-7 days, and sometimes up to 14 days."

The enhanced monitoring means having medical staff at airports to meet direct flights from hot spots, giving information about symptoms to passengers and encouraging them to say if they are feeling unwell.

Recent academic research ran simulations that suggested temperature checks at airports would catch just over half of coronavirus-infected passengers.

I am surprised that such temperature checks are not being used more widely even if they only detect just over 50% of affected passengers. The UK is not doing this nor the USA and not unsurprisingly DR too. Asking a few health questions is not enough especially if you only concentrate on certain nationalities, and that was perhaps the folly of initially just concentrating on the Chinese - the horse has now bolted. This virus is spreading to more countries daily and there are more cases outside China now.

CONVID-19 is not influenza - it is unique  WHO

Another live news feed just now from BBC website - which corrects my earlier statement it is another is not.

A unique virus' - WHO chief
The head of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, says the new coronavirus "is a unique virus with unique features".

"This virus is not influenza. We have never before seen a pathogen that can transfer between individuals [so easily]."

"Containment of Covid-19 must remain the top priority for all countries," he says, adding that governments have "no choice but to act now".

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