General Questions

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.

Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people.  Detailed investigations found that SARS-CoV was transmitted from civet cats to humans and MERS-CoV from dromedary camels to humans. Several known coronaviruses are circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans.

Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.

Standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, thoroughly cooking meat and eggs. Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.

SOURCE: World Health Organisation

A novel coronavirus is the name for a coronavirus that has never infected people before.

SOURCE: World Health Organisation

The symptoms of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) are reported to include cough, sore throat and fever. More severe symptoms can include breathing difficulties and pneumonia which may be life threatening for some people. These symptoms are like those of other types of coronavirus, although health experts are currently investigating the new virus to better understand it.

We recommend that you seek the help of a health professional immediately if you experience symptoms including respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.

SOURCE: World Health Organisation

If you have visited areas affected and you develop symptoms such as a cough, sore throat, fever, shortness of breath, breathing difficulties or have an existing condition which may put you at greater risk, you should contact a healthcare professional immediately and describe your symptoms. It is important to tell your clinician the details of your trip if you have travelled to areas where cases have been reported.

While sick, stay home from work or school and avoid traveling. It is important to practice good hygiene practices such as regularly washing your hands and covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze to reduce the possibility of spreading illness to others.

SOURCE: World Health Organisation

There is no treatment or medicine for the illness. Taking antibiotics won’t help, since it’s a virus, and not bacterial.

SOURCE: Business Insider

As the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new strain, health experts are still developing specific advice for this virus. However, the China National Health Commission as well as the WHO recommends that people maintain good hygiene habits which can prevent diseases spreading, such as:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, and help young children do the same. If soap and water are not available and the hands look clean, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and then throw the tissue into the waste bin. Wash your hands after discarding the tissue
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid personal contact, such as kissing, or sharing cups or eating utensils, with sick people

The 2019 novel coronavirus is now named severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) while the disease associated with it is referred to as COVID-19.

SARS-CoV-2, was identified in China at the end of 2019 and is a new strain of coronavirus that has not been previously identified in humans.