An outbreak of coronavirus in China became the reason of unprecedented quarantine in the history of our species. During the last major outbreak all infected were quarantined in hospital wards or at home. It is not surprising that the Chinese government’s decision to stop the spread of 2019-nCoV by quarantine major cities in Hubei province is of concern to many epidemiologists. The fact that such a decision can create a lot more problems than the infectious disease outbreak and can even worsen the already difficult situation in China.
What has led to the isolation of millions of people?
Some experts in the field of health, including Lawrence Gostin, in an interview with Changing America argues in favor of the fact that mass quarantines can actually worsen the crisis.
Theoretically, to isolate the viral outbreak can be a ban on the movement of people from the epicenter of the outbreak in other regions. But the introduction of quarantine in China may be too ambitious — according to the latest estimates, the events are attended by at least 56 million people — as well as untimely. The fact that the end of January in China traditionally falls on the celebration of the new year according to the lunar calendar. At this time millions of citizens of China travel the country and go abroad. So, immediately before closing of Wuhan city, it left at least 5 million people.
Other researchers are also concerned about the ability of Chinese authorities to control the movement of millions of people who are in closed cities. These people are probably scared, and no doubt desperately trying to protect themselves and their families. According to The Conversations, doctors in medical institutions like Wuhan are in a “state of war”, and in several cities of China completely stopped the movement of public transport.
Moreover, critics of mass quarantine I believe that the argument in favor of the closure of the cities is based on the dangerous assumption that the risk of infection of one person is the same as the risk of another, just because these people live in the same region. However, in reality, especially in the early stages of outbreak, there are high-risk groups and for health of those people required close monitoring. Such measures should be taken before you will consider other radical strategies. Moreover, the introduction of so large-scale quarantine violates the rights of other citizens of China.
According to many researchers, instead of mass quarantine will be much more effective measures to monitor contacts at risk, educating the population, the use of drugs and protective equipment , as well as access to continuous and effective communication of patients with health services and hospitals. In reality, the Chinese hospital was crowded — long lines in hospital corridors and crowded in the period of the epidemic only contributes to the spread of infection. So, the first week of quarantine has led to mass panic, food shortages and medical supplies.
Coronavirus captures the world?
Meanwhile, despite the measures taken, cases of coronavirus have been registered in 24 countries including Russia. As reported by Interfax, the Ministry of health has made a coronavirus in the list of the most dangerous diseases, simultaneously closing the border in the far East, and restricting air and railway communication with China. In the United States, the Centers for disease control (CDC) has passed in a mode of emergency response. All passengers arriving from infected areas in international airports are thoroughly checked and provided assistance and information to travelers going to Asia.
According to a study published in the journal The Lancet, more than 75,000 people — ten times higher than the official confirmed cases — were infected with coronavirus in Wuhan. As the researchers write in their work, as at 25 January 2020 in Wuhan were infected 75 815 people. While on 31 January the Chinese government announced that the number of confirmed cases reported rose to more than 9700 across the country, including 213 deaths.
The apparent discrepancy between modeled estimates and the actual number of confirmed cases in Wuhan can be due to a number of factors. These include a long incubation period and time required for confirmation of the diagnosis by laboratory tests. Researchers obtained the results also indicate that each infected 2019-nCoV, on average a person could infect two to three people. This means that the number of infected doubles every 6.4 days. Scientists are also concerned about major cities abroad with close transport links with China can become the epicentre of the outbreak.