Since the new coronavirus was first discovered in Wuhan, China in December, more than 75,000 people worldwide have been infected with the new coronavirus, most of which are in China.
So far, at least 74,076 people have been killed in mainland China, the vast majority of whom have been killed in Hubei Province, which is the birthplace of the virus in Wuhan. Deaths have also been confirmed in Hong Kong, the Philippines, Japan, France, Iran, Taiwan and South Korea.
Here’s what you need to know:
Like other respiratory diseases, such as the flu, coronavirus (called COVID-19) is transmitted from person to person.
When coughing or sneezing, body fluids such as saliva or mucus can spread from the air or on the surface of an infected person.
These drops of water may come into direct contact with others or infect anyone, as long as they touch the affected surface first and then the face, they will infect them.
According to scientists, coughing and sneezing can spread for several feet and hang in the air for up to 10 minutes.
It is unclear how long the virus can survive outside the host, but in other viruses, it can vary from hours to months.
In the transportation sector, transportation is a concern because droplets containing coronavirus can fall between passenger or aircraft seats and surfaces such as armrests.
The incubation period (time before symptoms appear) of coronavirus is 1 to 14 days.
Although it has not been confirmed, Chinese health authorities believe the virus can spread before symptoms appear.
Gerard Krause, head of the epidemiology department at the Helmholtz Infection Center, said this would be important for containment measures.
“Respiratory disease has spread even before the first symptoms appear,” he told Al Jazeera.
“But the consequence is that if this happens, they will not have public health means to classify or identify people at risk of transmission, because they don’t even know they are sick.”
Fast-transmitting viruses usually have lower mortality rates and vice versa.
Because the virus is a completely new strain, it is believed that no one will be immune.
A certain level of immunity naturally evolves overtime, but this means that people with weakened immune systems, such as the elderly or patients, are at greater risk of coronavirus disease or death.
Although the total number of deaths now exceeds the number of deaths recorded during the 2002-2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak, the current mortality rate is much lower than that of SARS.
Coronavirus has a mortality rate of 2.4%, while SARS killed 9.6% of infected people.
Regarding self-protection and the inclusion of viruses, experts agree to wash hands frequently and wash with soap; it is important to cover the face with a tissue or accessory when coughing or sneezing; see a doctor if symptoms occur; avoid direct contact with live animals in the affected area.
Although masks are common, scientists doubt their effectiveness against aerial viruses.
A mask can provide some protection for you and others, but because the mask is loose and made of porous material, droplets can still pass through.
Many countries recommend that travellers from China be quarantined for at least two weeks.
What measures are being taken to stop the spread of the disease? When is the vaccine available?
China has blocked Wuhan and a dozen other cities, affecting more than 60 million people, although this has not stopped the virus from spreading to all provinces in China.
As the number of confirmed cases increases, companies and countries are taking increasingly stringent measures.
Dozens of airlines have suspended flights to China, while several countries are evacuating their citizens from Wuhan and Hubei.
Some countries have closed their borders with China, while others have barred Chinese citizens from entering.
Human-to-human transmission has been confirmed in several countries, and Michael Ryan, WHO’s director of emergency affairs, described it as a “main concern.”
Even with the latest developments in medical technology, the vaccine is unlikely to be sold in large quantities within a year.
This means that public health measures to curb the spread of disease will be necessary to curb the spread of the disease.
Restricted mobility will not completely stop the spread of the disease, but it will delay the development of the disease and increase the time to prepare for infection prevention areas. Klaus said he will also reduce the pressure on medical infrastructure by reducing the number of injuries at any time.
Given the response and impact, new coronaviruses are considered a major problem.
Compared with the SARS epidemic in 2002-2003, the disease is now more common, and the latter also originated in China.
The World Health Organization, like five other countries, has set outbreaks as the highest warning level, including Ebola virus in 2014 and 2019, polio in 2014, Zika virus in 2016, and swine flu in 2009.
On February 10, a group of researchers led by WHO arrived in China to conduct a more detailed assessment of the situation.