With fears about the Wuhan-originating coronavirus spreading around the world, more and more countries are taking steps to identify ill people and stop them from transmitting the infection to others. Ukraine is the one of the latest countries to announce that they are taking steps to halt the spread of the virus.
According to Health Minister Zoriana Skaletska, five citizens from Ukraine are currently being screened for the coronavirus. Three of the people had recently returned from China and requested medical aid due to various symptoms. The two other people that the Ukrainian Health Ministry is screening are people who were in close contact with the first three people.
If these five citizens do have coronavirus, they will be the first people within Ukraine to be infected. So far, only two Ukrainian nationals have been infected with the coronavirus, and neither are in Ukraine itself. Instead, they are crew members currently aboard the Diamond Princess. This cruise ship was quarantined in port at Yokohama, Japan after it was discovered that 10 passengers aboard the ship were infected with the coronavirus.
As of Feb. 13, there has been no confirmation of whether or not any of the citizens being screened in the Ukraine have the virus. Its symptoms just consist of a fever, cough, and shortness of breath, so at first, it may mimic a common cold. It can take a few weeks for symptoms to appear after exposure, and during the time before symptoms show up, people can spread the virus to others.
Whatever the results of the testing, the Ukraine Health Ministry does not want people to panic. In her press briefing, Minister Skaletska reassured the audience by explaining they have plenty of medical masks on hand to stop the spread of the virus. There are currently four factories who produce these much needed medical supplies, and the factories have confirmed that they are equipped to produce enough masks for the nation.
In the next few weeks, the Health Ministry will be coordinating with local authorities in attempts to prevent any more Ukrainian citizens from getting infected. This will include working with local pharmacies to make sure everyone gets medical masks and keeping the public updated on any potential infections.