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As coronavirus spreads, here’s a guide to what you should know on the virus

The coronavirus outbreak has rattled countries across the world.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Published: January 25, 2020 3:43:18 pm
coronavirus, coronavirus outbreak, coronavirus explained, what is coronavirus, coronavirus, coronavirus outbreak, coronavirus explained, what is coronavirus, coronavirus india, coronavirus outbreak india, indian express, coronavirus china Passengers wear masks as they walk past a scanning machine monitoring people’s temperature following the new coronavirus outbreak in China, at Bandaranaike international airport in Katunayake, Sri Lanka January 24, 2020. (Reuters Photo: Dinuka Liyanawatte)

The Coronavirus outbreak that started in the Chinese city of Wuhan in mid-December 2019, has claimed 41 lives. Most of these deaths have occurred in mainland China, but more than 3,000 people have been infected with the virus globally.

China is taking emergency measures to contain the virus, including putting cities on lockdown, suspending all forms of public transport and shutting down public areas and tourist spots. Not just China, several countries are taking measures against the virus.

What is coronavirus?

Coronaviruses mainly circulate among animals, but have been known to evolve and infect humans in the past as has been seen with SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome). The genome structure of the virus which is spreading in China is 70 per cent similar to SARS and has been given the initial name of 2019-nCoV.

What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

Reported symptoms have included fever in 90 per cent of the cases, fatigue and dry cough in 80 per cent, shortness of breath in 20 per cent, with respiratory distress in 15 per cent. Chest x-rays have revealed signs in both lungs. Apart from this, a large number of people have also been diagnosed with pneumonia.

How does coronavirus spread?

The virus, it is believed, originated at a seafood market in the city of Wuhan. The patients who initially reported sick were stallholders who worked at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan. Though the modes of transmission are still unclear, there is evidence of human-to-human transmission. Additionally, it is estimated that an infected person can at least spread the virus to three to four healthy people.

Which countries have been affected by coronavirus?

Though concentrated mainly in China, there are several other countries that have reported confirmed cases. These include Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Nepal, France, and the United States. The highest number of confirmed cases outside mainland China have been reported in Hong Kong and Thailand (five each).

Read | This tool lets you track its spread worldwide

Has coronavirus affected India?

At least 7 people in the state of Kerala have been admitted after showing symptoms related to the virus. Kerala health ministry officials said the seven, who returned from China, showed mild symptoms of fever, cough and sore throat. Among the seven, two are in Kochi and four are in Thiruvananthapuram, Thrissur, Kozhikode, and Pathanamthitta respectively

There are seven people in Maharashtra quarantined as well — four in Mumbai and three in Pune.

Passengers arriving from China and other countries are undergoing thermal screening at six major Indian airports, including Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru.

Has anyone in India tested positive for coronavirus?

No, no Indian national has tested positive for coronavirus.

Is there a cure for coronavirus?

There are currently no vaccines available to protect you against the coronavirus. You may be able to reduce your risk of infection by doing the following:

* Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
* Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
* Avoid close contact with people who are sick

Read | Can surgical masks protect against infections, pollution?

Has the outbreak also affected the economy of China?

The Chinese stock market sank to a record low this week as the deadly coronavirus outbreak panicked investors. The Shanghai Composite Index closed down about 2.8 per cent at 2,976.53, an eight-month low. However, experts say that this slowdown is short term.

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