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COVID-19: The virus that initiated a nationwide lockdown

Coronavirus Cheat Sheet: Everything You Need To Know

What is Coronavirus?

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a family of viruses that cause illness as simple as the common cold to more severe diseases like MERS and SARS.
A novel coronavirus (nCoV) which is responsible for the 2019 Wuhan outbreak is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. Coronaviruses are transmitted between animals and people and hence, are called zoonotic.

Novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV)
The “novel” coronavirus had not previously detected before the outbreak was reported in Wuhan, China in December 2019.


Infection with 2019-nCoV can cause mild symptoms like:
Runny nose
Sore throat

It may progress to a more severe nature in certain people leading to pneumonia or breathing difficulties. In a few cases like older people, pre-existing medical conditions and those vulnerable, it may prove to be fatal.

How did it originate?

The animal source of the 2019-nCoV is not identified so far. You cannot catch 2019-nCoV from any animal or from your pet. An animal source from a live animal market in China may have caused some of the first reported human infections.

How does it spread?

The 2019-nCoV causes respiratory disease and is transmitted from person to person, after close contact with an infected patient.

Risk factors

People living or travelling in China or those who have been living or working closely with those travellers, such as family members, co-workers or medical professionals caring for a patient before they knew the patient was infected.

Health workers are at higher risk and must protect themselves with appropriate infection prevention and control procedures.


Washing hands frequently with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub use. This eliminates the virus if it is on your hands. Practising respiratory hygiene by covering mouth and nose while coughing and sneezing. This prevents the spread of germs and viruses. Social distancing by maintaining a 1-metre distance between yourself and those symptomatic. You can breathe in the virus through the droplets when a patient coughs or sneezes. Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth as you may transfer the virus from surfaces contaminated to yourself.

Seek Medical care early and stay home if symptomatic. Raw or undercooked animal products’ consumption should be avoided. Raw meat, milk or organs should be handled with care, to avoid cross-contamination.


This article has been written by Neha Nambiar.


Cochin Herald

All stories by: Cochin Herald