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Wuhan shrimp seller identified as coronavirus 'patient zero'


Press Trust of India Beijing/London
A 57-year-old female shrimp seller in China's Wuhan city, the originating point of the coronavirus pandemic, has been identified as one of the first victims of COVID-19, which has claimed nearly 28,000 lives around the world so far, according to media reports.
The coronavirus 'patient zero', who made a full recovery in January after month-long treatment, believes the Chinese government could have checked the spread of the disease had it acted sooner.
Wei Guixian, as identified by The Wall Street Journal, was selling shrimps at the Huanan Seafood Market on December 10 when she developed a cold.
Believing she had the common flu, Wei went to a local clinic for treatment where she was given an injection, the Mirror UK reported.
However, Wei continued to feel weak and visited Eleventh Hospital in Wuhan a day later.
The feeling of lethargy persisted and Wei visited one of the biggest medical facilities in the region -- Wuhan Union Hospital -- on December 16.
At the Union Hospital, Wei was told her sickness was ruthless and that many from Huanan Market had visited the hospital with matching symptoms.
At the end of December, Wei was quarantined when doctors related the emergence of the coronavirus with the seafood market, the Mirror quoted Chinese news outlet The Paper.
The article in The Paper concluded that the new coronavirus is likely to become the fifth endemic coronavirus in humans. "Coronaviruses clearly have the ability to cross species boundaries and adapt to new hosts, which allows us to more directly predict more coronaviruses in the future."

So humans need more research to help formulate public health policies to deal with the emergence of similar viruses.
'The Paper' quoted the findings from a review study by Professor Edward Holmes, School of Life and Environmental Sciences, School of Medical Sciences, University of Sydney, and Shanghai Public Health Clinical Center, Professor Zhang Yongzhen, School of Life Sciences, Fudan University published in the journal 'Cell'.
The so-called "live market" has been closed indefinitely following the coronavirus outbreak.
Wei regained her health in January. The COVID-19 'patient zero' believes she got the disease from a toilet she shared with meat sellers in the market. She said several vendors trading close to her also contracted the killer disease.
In a release, Wuhan Municipal Health Commission confirmed Wei was among the first 27 patients to test positive for COVID-19 and one of 24 cases directly related to the market.
Wei said the virus death toll could have been lower if the government had "acted sooner".
Though identified as 'patient zero', Wei may not be the first person to have contracted coronavirus in China, the report said.
A study in Lancet medical journal claims the first person diagnosed with COVID-19 was identified on December 1.
The total number of deaths from the novel coronavirus stood at 27,989 on Saturday. Over 605,220 infections have been recorded in 183 countries.
According to official figures, Italy is the worst hit with 9,134 deaths, followed by Spain at 5,690 and China at 3,295.
The US has the highest number of infections with 104,837 cases. Other badly hit countries include, Iran, France and the UK -- where Prime Minister Boris Johnson has tested positive for the disease.

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First Published: Mar 28 2020 | 11:10 PM IST

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