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Fact Sheet: Coronavirus (2019-nCOV)

Last updated: January 29th 2020


Coronavirus are a large family of viruses that includes viruses that may cause a range of illness in humans, from the common cold to Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

Wuhan Novel Coronavirus China 2019

The first case was reported on the 31 December 2019 was an unknown pneumonia in Wuhan in the Hubei Province, China. Wholesale fish and animal market in Wuhan are believed to the source of the virus. Cases of the Coronavirus have been confirmed in 29 provinces in China including Beijing. A new coronavirus was identified.

As from 29 January 2020, there have been 4,593 confirmed cases with 4,537 in China. There are another 6,973 suspected cases and 130 deaths.

There have been 56 confirmed cases in 14 countries including Japan, Republic of Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Australia, France, Germany, America and Canada. There have been no deaths outside of China. Those cases reported outside if China have recently travelled to the country prior to the onset of symptoms, and the majority of these individual are reportedly in a stable condition.

What are the symptoms of Coronavirus?

  • Acute respiratory illness; people often present with pneumonia

  • Fever

  • Dry cough

  • Shortness of breath

  • Fatigue

Current understanding of the illness is limited and may change over time as more information becomes available.

Incubation period is up to 14 days.

Can it be transmitted from person to person?

Transmission is from animals to humans. However, there has been recent evidence that there is also person-to-person transmission. It is not yet known exactly how this has occurred. Possibilities being investigated include coughing and sneezing, direct contact with a patient and the contamination of the environment by a patient.

Is there a vaccine available?

A vaccine is not currently available.

How can I protect myself from Coronavirus?

Although medical experts do not know exactly how people become infected with Coronavirus, the following basic measures are recommended to prevent acquiring any form of respiratory infection:

  • Wash hands regularly with soap and water or a disinfectant, especially after coughing and sneezing, before handling and consuming food.

  • Use disposable tissues when coughing or sneezing and dispose of used tissues carefully and promptly.

  • Avoid close contact with people who appear unwell and avoid sharing personal items.

If you are travelling to China, then please use the following precautions:

  • The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) have advised against all travel to the Hubei Province. Other provinces are essential travel only as per map below.

  • Wash hands frequently

  • Avoid close contact with people that look unwell

  • Wear masks when necessary

  • Avoids contact with animals and poultry including farms and markets.

If you are returning from Wuhan or China and are concerned:

  • Seek prompt medical advice if ill with breathing difficulties by calling your GP or dialling 111, informing them about your recent travel and that you may have been exposed.

  • Try to limit contact with others if you become unwell after travel until you have been assessed by a health professional.

Further advise and information:

Compiled by Jo Thompson.

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