The recent outbreak of the coronavirus 2019-nCoV in parts of China has placed the entire world in a state of panic.
While there have been no cases reported in South Africa as yet, it is vitally important that we educate ourselves on the virus and the methods available to us should things escalate in our country.
What is Coronavirus?
A coronavirus is, according to the World Health Organisation a family of viruses that include the common cold. It also includes viruses such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).
At this time, researchers have cordoned off the city of Wuhan, in mainland China, and blocked all entry and exit from the city in a bid to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
A vaccine has not yet been established. At the very least, if scientists are working on one, it has not yet reached human trials.
How does the virus spread?
The coronavirus is not airborne. If it was, the virus would have spread much quicker. Humans infect others by not wearing protective gear over their mouths and hands.
If an infected person sneezes or coughs, it is highly likely that whoever is in the vicinity of that sickly person may get infected. The WHO has released general safety tips on how to protect oneself from contracting the virus.
Are there ways to treat the virus?
The virus is pretty new in the realm of virology. Scientists from across the globe have honed their interests in the ongoings of Wuhan and other parts of mainland China.
In order to prepare a vaccine, gain more insightful information like how deadly the coronavirus is, virologists need to know where the outbreak started.
According to BBC News, scientists have linked most cases to a food market in Wuhan. However, they believe an animal could have been the source of the virus.
Without the catalyst, there are very few preventative measures available, and that is simply due to the fact that nobody knows enough about the virus.
How many people are infected with Coronavirus in China?
Based on the live reporting from CNN, the recorded cases of infected people has risen to more than 2 700, 82 of which have led to fatalities.
Outside of China, there have been 13 cases reported, five of which have come from the United States.
The first case of the coronavirus has already hit Africa. In Ivory Coast, a female student who returned from China was not allowed past the Félix-Houphouët-Boigny International Airport’s customs office after she displayed symptoms of the virus.
She is currently under medical treatment, making her the first person to be tested for the virus in the continent.