Also Known As: coronavirus 2019, COVID-19
The 2019–20 coronavirus outbreak is an ongoing public health emergency of international concern involving coronavirus disease 2019. It is caused by SARS-CoV-2, first identified in Wuhan, Hubei, China. As of 4 March 2020, more than 94,000 cases have been confirmed, of which 7,100 were classified as serious. 82 countries and territories have been affected, with major outbreaks in Central China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran. More than 3,200 people have died: almost 3,000 in mainland China and about 240 in other countries. More than 51,000 people have recovered.
The virus primarily spreads between people in a similar way to influenza, via respiratory droplets produced during coughing or sneezing. The time between exposure and symptom onset is typically five days, but may range from two to fourteen days. Symptoms may include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Complications may include pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome. There is currently no vaccine or specific antiviral treatment, though research is ongoing. Efforts are aimed at managing symptoms and supportive therapy. Recommended preventive measures include hand washing, maintaining distance from people who are sick, and monitoring and self-isolation for fourteen days for people who suspect they are infected.
Public health responses in China and around the world have included travel restrictions, quarantines, and curfews. These have included the lockdown of Hubei and various curfew measures in China; the quarantine of a British cruise ship Diamond Princess in Japanese waters; as well as lockdowns in Italy. Some airports and train stations have instituted screening methods such as temperature checks and health declaration forms. Several countries have issued advisories warning against travel to regions with ongoing community transmission, such as Central China, Italy and Iran.