Outbreak: Everything you should know about the Wuhan coronavirus

There is a risk that the new coronavirus could spread, according to China’s national health commission. The virus has claimed the lives of nine people and has infected over 400.

The number of confirmed cases has tripled in the past week, with the first U.S case being diagnosed on Tuesday.

The World Health Organisation will meet later today to discuss if the virus should be declared a global public health emergency.


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But what exactly is the new coronavirus?

Coronaviruses cause mild to moderate upper respiratory tract illnesses like the common cold and are often harmless. However, this current strain is unknown. Medical experts fear it is a new virus. 

The current outbreak of the virus, known as 2019-nCoV, has never been identified in humans before. The virus is currently being tested to find out what type it is. Scientists are analysing whether it is more similar to the MERS or SARS virus.

The SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) virus causes more severe symptoms. There was an outbreak of the SARS virus in 2012, which claimed the lives of nearly 800 people. However, this virus appears to be less severe.

Signs and symptoms:

The new virus causes symptoms including a fever, cough, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing. The virus can also cause pneumonia, which is a grave concern for health officials.

How is it spread?

The Chinese national health commissioner, Mr Li Bin said the disease was “mainly transmitted through the respiratory tract.” 

Coughs and sneezes are the main way this virus is spread, experts stated. The virus can also be spread by close personal contact, touching an object with the virus on it and then touching your mouth, nose, eyes before washing your hands.


Medical experts explained that there are no treatments available as this is a virus. Like any virus, people just have to let it run its course. You can drink plenty of fluids, rest and sleep as much as possible.