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Coronavirus and Preventive Measures

1. The Novel Coronavirus (nCoV) case was first reported in Wuhan, China.

2. The virus has spread very fast and has resulted in more than 500 deaths and more than 20,000 cases in China alone.

Why in news?

1. The virus has been spreading to other countries as well.

2. India has also reported three positive cases in Kerala of the nCoV.

3. The epidemic has been declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organization (WHO).

What is nCoV?

1. Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses which can cause illness such as the common cold to more severe diseases like Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).

2. The novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.

3. They are zoonotic meaning they are transmitted between animals and humans.

4. SARS-CoV was transmitted from civet cats to humans and MERS-CoV from dromedary camels to humans.

5. There are several known coronaviruses in animals that have not yet infected humans.

6. Human to human transmission is very fast due to which it has spread across the world.

7. But the mortality is not too high.

8. Incubation period of the virus is 14 days.

Who gets infected?

1. People of all ages can be infected by the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

2. Older people, and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease) are more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus.

Which are the symptoms?

Common signs of infection include

1. respiratory symptoms,

2. fever, cough,

3. shortness of breath and

4. breathing difficulties.

In more severe cases, infection can cause

1. pneumonia,

2. severe acute respiratory syndrome,

3. kidney failure and

4. death.

How to prevent infection?

Standard recommendations to prevent infection spread are

1. Regular washing of hands,

2. Covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing,

3. Thorough cooking of meat and eggs.

4. Avoiding close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.

Where are the efforts channelized?

1. China has expanded the restrictions in Wuhan and has created a huge quarantine zone of around 50 million people.

2. Countries including India are evacuating their nationals trapped by the outbreak and quarantining them.

3. Self-reporting by people returned from China on the Government of India portal can be helpful.

4. The virus is new and different due to which it needs its own vaccine.

5. There is an attempt to develop a vaccine against 2019-nCoV, and WHO is supporting the efforts.

6. WHO is working closely with global experts, governments and partners to rapidly expand scientific knowledge on this new virus.

7. It is tracking the spread of the virus and providing advice to countries and individuals on measures to protect health and prevent the spread of this outbreak.