Coronavirus explained: Here's all you need to know about the deadly virus

What is Coronavirus?
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What is Coronavirus?

The coronavirus (CoV) is a large family of viruses that causes illnesses ranging from the common cold to acute respiratory syndromes, but the virus that has killed four people in China is a novel strain not seen before.

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How does Coronaviruses spread?
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How does Coronaviruses spread?

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), human coronaviruses most commonly spread from an infected person to others through the air by coughing and sneezing, close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands. The viruses can also spread by touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands, the CDC said. In pregnant women, the more severe versions of MERS and SARS coronaviruses can be serious.

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Can Coronavirus cause death?
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Can Coronavirus cause death?

In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and even death.

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Where does this infection come from?
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Where does this infection come from?

Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people, according to the WHO. Several known coronaviruses are circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans. On December 31, 2019, the WHO China Country Office was informed of mysterious cases of pneumonia detected in Wuhan City in China's Hubei Province. The novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) was identified as the causative agent by Chinese authorities on January 7.

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Why is it alarming?
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Why is it alarming?

The discovery of a novel strain of the virus in China has compelled nations to quarantine passengers from the country and issue travel advisories, while prompting the WHO to convene an emergency meeting on the matter. Countries around the world have sounded an alert following the confirmation of the first case of human-to-human transmission of the deadly infectious disease. Cases have been detected in Thailand, Japan and South Korea. India has instructed screening of travelers from China at airports in Delhi, Mumbai, and Kolkata via thermal scanners.

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