What is Coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can cause infections ranging from the common cold to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (Sars).
The virus attacks the respiratory system, causing pneumonia-like lung lesions
Some of the virus types cause less serious disease, while others - like the one that caused Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (Mers) - are far more severe.
In 2003 an outbreak of a similar virus, Sars, killed more than 900 around the world within weeks.
What are the symptoms?Symptoms are similar to a common cold.
- a runny nose
- shortness of breath
- body aches
In most cases, you won't know whether you have a coronavirus or a different cold-causing virus, such as rhinovirus.
But if a coronavirus infection spreads to the lower respiratory tract (your windpipe and your lungs), it can cause pneumonia, especially in older people, people with heart disease or those with weakened immune systems.
How do you catch Coronavirus?
Because it's a new illness, its not know exactly how coronavirus spreads from person to person.
Similar viruses are spread in cough droplets.
It's very unlikely it can be spread through things like packages or food.
How do you avoid catching or spreading Coronavirus?
wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
always wash your hands when you get home or into work
use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
put used tissues in the bin straight away and wash your hands afterwards
try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell
do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
How do you self-isolate if asked?
If there's a chance you could have coronavirus, you may be asked to stay away from other people (self-isolate).
This means you should:
- stay at home
- not go to work, school or public places
- not use public transport or taxis
- ask friends, family members or delivery services to do errands for you
- try to avoid visitors to your home – it's OK for friends, family or delivery drivers to drop off food
You may need to do this for up to 14 days to help reduce the possible spread of infection.
Is there any treatment for Coronavirus?
There is currently no specific treatment for coronavirus.
Antibiotics do not help, as they do not work against viruses.
Treatment aims to relieve the symptoms while your body fights the illness.
You'll need to stay in isolation away from other people until you've recovered
How long are you ill with Coronavirus?
Symptoms are thought to appear between two and 10 days after contracting the virus, but it may be up to 24 days.
Most people (about 80 per cent) recover from the disease without needing special treatment. However, around one out of every six people (16 per cent) becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing.
Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems, lung complaints or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness.