What is coronavirus?
According to the WHO, coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).
These viruses were originally transmitted between animals and people. SARS, for instance, was transmitted from civet cats to humans while MERS moved to humans from a type of camel.
Several known coronaviruses are circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans.
The name coronavirus comes from the Latin word corona, meaning crown or halo. Under an electron microscope, the image of the virus looks like a solar corona.
The novel coronavirus, identified by Chinese authorities on January 7 and since named COVID-19, is a new strain that had not been previously identified in humans. Little is known about it, although human-to-human transmission has been confirmed.
What are the symptoms?
According to the WHO, signs of infection include fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.
In more severe cases, it can lead to pneumonia, multiple organ failure and even death.
Current estimates of the incubation period – the amount of time between infection and the onset of symptoms – range from one to 14 days. Most infected people show symptoms within five to six days.
However, infected patients can also be asymptomatic, meaning they do not display any symptoms despite having the virus in their systems.
Where have cases been reported?
Most cases and deaths have been reported in China – the vast majority in Hubei province.
Deaths have also been confirmed in Hong Kong, the Philippines, Japan, France, Taiwan, South Korea, Italy and Iran.
The virus has spread to many countries in the Asia-Pacific region as well as in Europe, North America, the Middle East and Africa.
The majority of cases outside China are among people who recently travelled to the country, however, instances of human-to-human transmission have been recorded in several countries and questions have been raised about cases with no apparent link to China.
Where did the virus originate?
Chinese health authorities are still trying to determine the origin of the virus, which they say likely came from a seafood market in Wuhan where wildlife was also traded illegally.
On February 7, Chinese researchers said the virus could have spread from an infected animal species to humans through illegally-trafficked pangolins, which are prized in Asia for food and medicine.
Scientists have pointed to either bats or snakes as the source of the virus.
Source : https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/03/declares-coronavirus-global-pandemic-live-updates-200311235023766.html