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Wed 29 Jan 2020 11:05 AM

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Coronavirus: Symptoms, prevention and what to do if you become sick

The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a virus linked to the outbreak of respiratory illnesses first detected in Wuhan, China

Coronavirus: Symptoms, prevention and what to do if you become sick
MANILA PHILIPPINES JANUARY 23 Passengers wear face masks at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on January 23 2020 in Manila Philippines The Philippines and other Asian countries have been on high alert following the outbreak of a new strain of coronavirus from Wuhan China that has infected hundreds and killed a number of people Photo by Jes AznarGetty Images

The Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) on Wednesday announced the first cases of new coronavirus in the UAE.

In a statement, the ministry added that "the health condition of those infected is stable and under medical observation" and the cases were “not a cause for concern".

The Ministry stressed that the epidemiological investigation centres in the country are working around the clock to early report any cases of the virus, noting that the health system in the country "works very efficiently and that the ministry is closely following the situation in a way that guarantees the health and safety of everyone."

Below is a quick guide to the disease, its symptoms, treatment, prevention and what to do if you become sick.

What is 2019-nCoV?

The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a virus linked to the outbreak of respiratory illnesses first detected in Wuhan, China. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US, early cases were linked to a large seafood and animal market in Wuhan, indicating it was originally spread animal-to-person. However, other patients who have contracted the disease did not have exposure to animals so the origin is still not 100 percent determined.

How many have been infected?

Chinese health authorities announced on Tuesday that 4,515 confirmed cases of pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus had been reported in 30 provincial-level regions by the end of Monday. A total of 106 people died of the disease.

What are the symptoms of Coronavirus?

Symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath and may appear in as few as two days or be dormant for up to 14 after exposure.

How does it spread?

Coronaviruses are part of a family of viruses that are common in many different species, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats. It is rarely transmitted from animals to humans but this has occurred in the past, such as with MERS and SARS.

It is spread person-to-person when respiratory droplets land on a patient when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

How to prevent being infected?

There is no current cure to 2019-nCoV but the CDC offered the following tips to prevent getting infected:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

What to do if you become infected by Coronavirus?

The CDC advises the following tips if you feel unwell, especially if you have visited China in the last 14 days:

  • Seek medical care right away. Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.
  • Avoid contact with others.
  • Do not travel while sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds to avoid spreading the virus to others. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol if soap and water are not available.

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