IN THE “LAST DAYS” FAMINES, PESTILENCE AND DISEASE

Jesus said, in the last days before His return: “and there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.” Matthew 24:7b

Wuhan, the central China city at the heart of the coronavirus outbreak, has been put in quarantine, starting 1pm (AEDT) on Thursday, January 2020.

An ambulance at work in Wuhan as coronavirus cases rise. 

The deadly new strain of coronavirus is mutating into a more virulent disease that can be transmitted through airborne droplets from coughing or sneezing, Chinese ­scientists warned, as the death toll nearly doubled to nine in just 24 hours and the number of confirmed cases across the country climbed to 440.

Update January 27th: President Xi Jinping calls the  accelerating spread of coronavirus a grave situation, as the illness infects more than 1200 and kills 41. Desperate residents and doctors describe “doomsday” scenes at overwhelmed hospitals in the city at the centre of the outbreak

It has since spread to South Korea, Japan and Thailand, with the US, Macau and Taiwan also ­reporting their first confirmed cases on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Four cases of the deadly coronavirus have been confirmed in Australia, as authorities scramble to contact passengers who shared flights from China with the patients. Three men tested positive to the respiratory condition in NSW on Saturday, Jan 25th, state health authorities confirmed.

Chinese officials are scrambling to enforce containment measures, just days before hundreds of millions of people travel across the country and abroad for the Chinese New Year holiday.

Strict prevention and control measures are in force, granting authorities sweeping powers to lock down affected areas and quarantine patients — as occurred during the 2009 H1N1 (swine flu) outbreak.

China also would step up co-operation with the World Health Organisation, China’s National Health Commission vice-minister, Li Bin said. An emergency WHO meeting in Geneva was scheduled for late Wednesday to determine whether to declare a rare global public health emergency over the disease.

In Australia, the NSW Health Department’s executive director of health protection, Jeremy McAn­ulty said, with the coronavirus having been declared a notifiable disease in NSW, “if necessary people can be placed in isolation”.

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