A Guide to Coronavirus: Everything you need to know to protect yourself

A Guide to Coronavirus: Everything you need to know to protect yourself

New cases of infection from a new coronavirus that emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year are being reported daily around the world. The US State Department warns Americans to reconsider travel to Italy due to the outbreak as cases worldwide surpass 83,000.

Hopes that the coronavirus would be contained to China have vanished as the first case in sub-Saharan Africa was announced in Nigeria, while the number of infections continues to grow in Europe pounding stock markets amid fears of a global recession.

What is a Coronavirus or COVID19

As a brief Guide to Coronavirus, It is a composition virus that comes from are a large family of viruses, which may cause illness in animals or people. In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as MERS and SARS.

What is the COVID-19 coronavirus 

Officially known as COVID19 or SARS-CoV-2 it is the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. The new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak in China in 2019. 

What are the symptoms

COVID-19’s most common symptoms include fever, tiredness and dry cough. People may also experience aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat and diarrhoea. 

These symptoms are usually mild and some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don’t feel unwell. 

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Who’s at risk 

Of those infected, about 80% will recover from COVID-19 without needing special treatment. One in six people who get it will become seriously ill and develop breathing difficulties. About 2% of people with the disease have died. 

Older people and those with underlying health problems such as high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes are more likely to develop serious illness. 

Anyone in the UK with a fever, cough and difficulty breaking should call NHS 111

How can I protect myself

Everyone should stay up to date with the latest information on the COVID-19 outbreak. The outbreak is still largely affecting people in China but outbreaks in other countries have started. Most people will recover from COVID-19, but everyone should take action to protect themselves. 

Protection measures

  • Wash hands regularly with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub. 
  • Maintain at least 1-metre distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing. 
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Stay at home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow instructions of NHS 111. 
  • Stay informed on COVID-19.

Where did it start 

The outbreak began in the central city of Wuhan, China in December 2019. 

The source of the coronavirus is believed to be a “wet market” in Wuhan which sold both dead and live animals including fish and birds. 

These markets pose a heightened risk of viruses jumping from animals to humans because hygiene standards are difficult to maintain if live animals are being kept and butchered on-site. Typically, they are also densely packed.

The animal source is still unidentified though it’s believed to be bats. Bats are not sold at the Wuhan markets but may have infected live chickens or other animals sold there. 

Bats are host to a wide range of zoonotic viruses including Ebola, HIV and rabies. 

Where has COVID-19 spread to? 

The majority of confirmed cases (78,000+) and coronavirus deaths (2,700+) are in China. But COVID-19 has now spread to more than 30 countries. 

It appears the spreading of the coronavirus can be often traced back to people who have travelled from China. 

Coronavirus: A guide to everything you need to know
A Guide to Coronavirus or COVID19: Everything you need to know to protect yourself

The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the crisis a global health emergency on 30 January as the number of cases grew and the virus spread. 

Infections of COVID-19 have been recorded in more than 30 countries including South Korea, Iran, Italy, Japan, Thailand, the US, Canada, France, Germany and the UK

South Korea, Iran and Italy are three global hotspots for outbreaks outside of China.

Coronavirus Outbreak in China

78,497 Confirmed cases of COVID19 in China as of Feb 28 2020

As of February 28, a total of 78,497 people in mainland China were confirmed as having been infected with the coronavirus, most of them in the central province of Hubei, where Wuhan is. At least 2,744 people have died, according to the WHO. The main Doctor in China confirmed 5 deaths in one night and one of the biggest causes of deaths is the lack of high-end respiratory equipment.

The city of Macau has confirmed 10 cases. Hong Kong reported 93 confirmed cases, including two deaths.

Coronavirus Outbreak in South Korea

1776 Confirmed cases of COVID19 in South Korea as of Feb 28 2020

There have been fears the jump in cases outside China that the virus outbreak could become a pandemic. 

South Korea reported 171 new coronavirus cases on February 27, raising the total number of infections to 1,766, including 13 deaths.

Guide to coronavirus - WHO gives a warning of pandemic

South Korea has the largest number of confirmed cases outside China. The biggest virus clusters have been linked to a hospital and a religious group near the south-eastern city of Daegu, which has a population of around 2.5m. 

Coronavirus in Italy

650 Confirmed cases of COVID19 in Italy as of Feb 28 2020

Italy has the largest number of cases in Europe and the country’s authorities have said a serious of measures to try to halt the virus’s spread will be introduced. It is not known how the virus entered the country. 

As of February 27, the number of confirmed cases in Italy stood at 650, mostly centred in the country’s north. On the same day, three more people died in Italy from coronavirus, bringing the death toll to 17.

Small towns in the Italian regions of Lombardy and Veneto have been placed on lockdown leaving 50,000 residents unable to leave without permission. The Guide to Coronavirus is coming too late for some and has created huge panic in workplaces and cities, all around the world.

Businesses and schools have suspended activities and sporting events such as a Six Nations game has been postponed due to the coronavirus. 

The UK has advised against travelling to the region. Anyone returning from certain towns in Italy should call NHS 111, stay indoors and avoid contact with other people. 

Coronavirus outbreak in Iran

388 Confirmed cases of COVID19 in Iran as of Feb 28 2020

Iran confirmed it has seen a number of cases of the virus, most of them in the holy city of Qom, south of the capital Tehran. Fewer than 100 people have been officially infected, but it’s assumed the numbers are a lot higher.  

Thirty-four people have been confirmed dead in Iran because of the coronavirus as of February 28. The total number of people diagnosed with the virus stands at 388.

Among prominent people who tested positive for the virus is Masoumeh Ebtekar, vice president of Iran for Women.

In response, Iran’s neighbours have announced the temporary closure of their borders with the country. 

Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait and Bahrain have reported their first cases, all involving people who had come from Iran.

Is COVID-19 the same as SARS? 

No. The virus that causes COVID-19 and the one that causes Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) are related genetically but are different. 

SARS is more deadly but much less infectious than COVID-19. 

The last SARS outbreak was in 2003. 

Can I Still Travel to Italy

Its recommended staying out of the red-zone. But since it is a dynamic situation, the spread of the virus is creeping up in all major cities. At present, it is better to throw caution to the wind and not travel, unless absolutely necessary.



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