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Novel coronavirus from Wuhan

Since December 2019, several cases of severe pneumonia and death caused by a novel coronavirus have been found in the Chinese metropolitan city of Wuhan. Cases have also been found in other Asian countries among persons who have stayed in Wuhan. The Danish Health Authority estimates that the risk of the disease coming to Denmark is very low. The Danish Health Authority is monitoring the situation closely. The Danish Health Authority does not recommend entry screening measures in e.g. airports in Denmark. However, if a person in Denmark show signs of the disease, then the Danish health authorities and the Danish health service are ready to deal with this.

24 JAN 2020

Danish version 22 JAN 2020 - English version 24 JAN 2020

Cases of severe pneumonia and deaths from a new coronavirus called 2019-nCoV have been found in Wuhan, China. The new coronavirus is unknown from previous outbreaks, but there are other known diseases that are caused by coronaviruses such as SARS and MERS. The outbreak initially began with people who had been in contact with Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan. The market was closed by the Chinese authorities on January 1, 2020. There is currently a suspicion that the disease can also spread from person to person.

The Danish Health Authority, who is responsible for the Danish health system is closely monitoring the development of the situation under the auspices of both the WHO and the EU. The Danish Health Authority have ensured that the Danish health system is informed about the disease and how it should be handled if travelers with symptoms of the disease comes to the Denmark.

"We have preparedness of a high standard in Denmark to deal with situations like this, and have, from the Danish Health Authority, updated the healthcare staff with information on how to deal with patients suspected of this specific disease", says Ane Just Ohrt, MD.

If a person arrives in Denmark and meet the specific criteria for a 2019-nCoV infection, the person will be tested and treated by specialists at either Skejby or Hvidovre hospital, where they have special departments for infectious diseases. In Denmark, Statens Serum Institut tests samples for the new coronavirus.

The Danish Health Authority does not recommend the introduction of screenings for illness when entering Denmark, as there is no evidence that it can prevent the spread of infection, and that the probability of an infected person entering Denmark is likely to be very small. Nor does the Danish Health Authority recommend that travel restrictions be imposed on the countries where there has been cases of the new coronavirus.

If you are travelling to countries where 2019-nCoV have been reported, you can follow the advice mentioned below.

“There are no travel restrictions to the countries where there has been cases of the new type of coronavirus. If you are going to travel to affected countries, we recommend that you familiarize yourself with instructions of the local authorities and follow these as closely as possible. Furthermore, following the general advice on good hand hygiene can protect yourself from coronavirus, e.g. frequent hand washing and avoiding contact with sick people”, says Ane Just Ohrt.

The general travel advice, if traveling in the affected areas, is as follows:

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water. Use hand sanitizer if possible.
  • Avoid close contact with sick people with respiratory symptoms (coughing and expectoration)
  • Cough into your elbow, not your hands
  • Avoid contact with live and dead animals e.g. at animal markets

Denne artikel på dansk: Ny coronavirus fra Wuhan

Generally, what do the health authorities in Denmark do in situations with possible infectious diseases?

The Danish Health Authority

The Danish Health Authority (SST) handles national coordination in connection with possible and confirmed cases of infectious diseases, including coordination with other national and foreign authorities.

Statens Serum Institut

Statens Serum Institut (SSI) is the national reference laboratory and carries out specialized diagnostics, e.g. in connection with very rare diseases such as 2019-nCoV. SSI also conducts surveillance and risk assessment of infectious diseases in Denmark and internationally, and is the Danish point of contact in the national and international surveillance of infectious diseases.

The Danish Patient Safety Agency

The Danish Patient Safety Agency (STPS) uncovers infection routes and manages healthy close contacts in Denmark to patients with strong suspicion or confirmed cases of special infectious diseases. If there is a low risk of infection, STPS gives advice and guidance.