You might be getting increasingly worried about the outbreak of coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China in December of 2019.

The virus has spread to Hong Kong, Singapore, Macau, Taiwan, North America, Europe and Australasia. There have been over a hundred reported deaths in China, and a small number of deaths have been reported outside of China. Although a travel ban has been issued for Wuhan in order to "best prevent and control the epidemic of the new type of coronavirus infection, effectively cut off the transmission of the virus, and curb the spread of the epidemic” to “ensure the safety and health of the people”, the notice said.

No vaccine is yet available to protect against the family of coronaviruses, although trials for a vaccine for the MERS type of coronavirus is underway. Medical and public health experts have reiterated that we must remain vigilant and take crucial steps to protect ourselves from potential infection.

What is the coronavirus?

According to the World Health Organization, coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). These viruses are transmitted between animals and people. A novel coronavirus, identified by Chinese authorities on January 7 and currently named 2019-nCoV, is a new strain that had not been previously identified in humans. Little is known about it, although human-to-human transmission has been confirmed.

What are the symptoms?

- Fever

- Shortness of breath

- Cough

- In severe cases: it can lead to pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.

How can I protect my family members and myself?

- Practice good hygiene - was your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds.

- Avoid as much you can being near to people who appear to have flu symptoms.

- Refrain from touching your nose, mouth, and eyes as much as you can.

- Avoid crowded spaces, especially places such as wet markets.

- Wear a surgical mask, especially in crowded spaces.  Click here on where to buy face masks in Hong Kong.

 

If you or any of your loved ones do feel sick, stay at home and avoid contact with others, and it is vital to see a doctor as soon as possible and notify them of your symptoms.