The virus that isn’t going anywhere
It became known simply as coronavirus when discovered for the first time in a Chinese city called Wuhan, in December 2019, and meanwhile has been designated as COVID-19. According to the Portuguese Directorate General for Health, “this new agent has never been identified in humans before, ever!”. The infection source of infection is yet unknown. The General Director of the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that the world needs to prepare for an “eventual pandemic” of the new coronavirus, considering the “sudden increase” of cases in Italy, South Korea and Iran “very important”.
“We should focus in [the epidemic’s] containment, while we prepare ourselves for doing the best we can for a possible pandemic”, said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, at a press conference in Geneva.
The truth is, there are already hundreds of confirmed cases worldwide and several fatalities to mourn. However, consequences are yet unpredictable.
From the economic point of view, Luís Onofre, APICCAPS’ President, considers that the “ultimate impact will always be negative”. Primarily, because it “rises instability in the business world, which, by itself, is always negative”. Also, “it can contribute for the cooling of the world economy, which can be extremely damaging for a sector as Footwear, that exports 95% of its production".
In fact, the first effects didn't take long to appear in the Footwear Sector. MICAM, the biggest and most important professional event of the industry has announced a 5% decrease of professional visitors. The lack of potential Asiatic clients was all too clear. Shoe Intelligence’s newsletter also announced that some of the footwear production was already being relocated from China to other Asiatic countries, such as Vietnam.
Still in the fashion domain, several companies, including European, were obliged to activate a contingency plan and stop production. Calvelex, a textile company with headquarters in Lousada and factories in Matosinhos and Vila Nova de Gaia, has suspended a part of the production, until the 28th, for the lack of raw materials and orders due to the outbreak. “As everyone knows, the recent virus has caused a global public health emergency, as already declared by the WHO. Consequently, some of our raw materials’ suppliers, such as buttons, linings, tags and composition labels, which are located in Hong Kong and Shenzhen, in China, have directly let us know they won’t have the production capacity to respond to our usual orders”, stated Calvelex’s administration, in a letter sent to its collaborators. According to the company, even other suppliers “from European countries, such as France, won’t be meeting the supply deadlines of raw materials, such as fabric, under the same explanation”.
Even Alexandra Moura’s fashion show, at ModaLisboa, was cancelled.
What is the coronavirus?
Coronavirus is a virus family with the ability of causing illnesses to the human being. The Coronaviridae family includes the common cold, as well as SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, a new form of atypical pneumonia) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). Now, this new virus was detected as of several pneumonia cases in the city of Wuhan, in the Chinese province Hubei, and been officially designated as COVID-19.
Fever, dry cough and respiratory difficulty are the main symptoms of infection, which, in severe cases, can present themselves as severe pneumonia, along with acute respiratory failure, kidney failure and other organs disfunction, that might lead to death.
How does it spread?
Human-to-human transmission is confirmed but there aren’t other details. The mode transmission is still under investigation. There aren’t yet any definitive conclusion about the disease’s characteristics, the intensity of human-to-human transmission or the original source of the outbreak. According to the North American Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the incubation period of the virus can last between 2 to 14 days.
In Portugal, there were already set specific protection measures. Within those are, for instances, washing the hands regularly and measure the body temperature at least twice a day.
Advices for those who came from Milan
In the past few days, the Portuguese Directorate General for Health has asked for caution and awareness regarding the health conditions of those who are coming from Italy, but also from other countries that are having increasing outbreaks of this new coronavirus, Covid-19, such as China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Iran.
The General Director for Health has advised for those who recently came from the most affected regions in Italy to avoid social interactions and double the awareness. “There are respiratory hygiene measures that we should adopt, especially for those who recently came from Northern Italy. We also advise avoiding social interactions for those who are asymptomatic”, stated Graça Freitas, adding that she’s waiting for more information from the Italian authorities on how the virus spread.