Hubei Province in Wuhan, China. (Stock Photo)

The Ministry of Health and Wellness is urging persons resident in Barbados to avoid non-essential travel to Hubei Province in China, including its capital, Wuhan.        

The recommendation, from the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States, is aimed at reducing the international spread of the coronavirus.

The respiratory illness, which originated in Wuhan, has now spread to 12 countries outside of China.  All of the cases identified outside of China so far have been imported cases.

Meanwhile, the Ministry is reminding residents that the most effective way of preventing respiratory illness is to practise frequent hand washing; covering the mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing; and avoiding close contact with persons showing symptoms of respiratory infections 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS – CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS – CoV).

Signs of infection include fever, cough, shortness of breath as well as breathing difficulties in more severe cases.  The infection can cause pneumonia, kidney failure and even death. The novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain which has not previously been identified in humans.

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