Novel Coronavirus: WHO Declares Public Health Emergency

With the massive outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus across China and South East Asia, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared it a public health emergency. With more than 200 deaths in China alone reported, the spread of Wuhan Coronavirus is far and people returning from China to other countries, are tested positive in some cases, that is causing concern worldwide.

The announcement comes in the wake of a warning to other countries with reported weaker health systems, that makes them susceptible to this deadly virus. What is the Corona Virus? Why is it so dangerous? What should you do to stay safe amidst the health crisis? Let’s take a look.

What is Corona Virus? 

According to the World Health Organisation, Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV)A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.

Signs of infection:

Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.

Why the name corona?

The name coronavirus comes from the Latin word corona, meaning crown or halo. Under an electron microscope, the image of the virus is reminiscent of a solar corona.


Pic courtesy: Al Jazeera

How do I stay safe? 

WHO recommends the following safety practises to stay safe:

  • Frequent handwashing
  • Covering the mouth when coughing or sneezing
  • Avoid direct unprotected contact with live animals and surfaces in contact with animals
  • Avoid close contact when down with cough or fever
  • Use disposable tissue during cold, and throw it immediately after use

Who is susceptible?