Coronavirus is part of a family of viruses that initially cause disease in only animals until recent times when it began infecting human beings.
There are two types of Coronavirus, Middle East respiratory syndrome (Mers) and severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) – are much more severe.
The new virus, now officially called Covid-19, is also dangerous.
In roughly 14 per cent of cases the virus causes severe disease, including pneumonia, and shortness of breath. And in about five per cent of patients it is critical, leading to respiratory failure, septic shock and multi-organ failure.
The Outbreak of the Virus is believed to have started in a market in Wuhan where dead and live animals including fish and birds were sold. The animal source of the latest outbreak has not yet been identified, but the original host is thought to be bats.
The virus is spread via droplets when a person coughs or sneezes. The droplets land on surfaces and are picked up on the hands of others and spread further. People catch the virus when they touch their infected hands to their mouth, nose or eyes.
SYMPTOMS: Sneezing, runny nose, fatigue, cough, fever in rare cases, sore throats, exacerbated asthma.