The coronavirus outbreak

Dear Editor
THE 2019–20 coronavirus outbreak is an ongoing global outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 caused by the SARS coronavirus. The outbreak was first identified in Wuhan, Hubei, China in December 2019, and has since been declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern by the World Health Organisation. As of March 10, 2020, over 118,000 cases have been confirmed globally, of which 5,800 were classified as serious.
More than 115 countries and territories have been affected, with major outbreaks in central China, Italy, South Korea and Iran. More than 4,200 people have died: more than 3,100 in mainland China and over 1,000 in other countries. More than 64,000 people have recovered.

The virus spreads between people in a similar way to influenza, via respiratory droplets from coughing or sneezing. The time between exposure and symptom onset is typically five days, but may range from two to 14 days. Symptoms are most often fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. Complications may include pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome. There is currently no vaccine or specific antiviral treatment, but research is ongoing. Efforts are aimed at managing symptoms and supportive therapy. Recommended preventive measures include hand-washing, maintaining distance from other people, particularly those who are sick, and monitoring and self-isolation for 14 days for people who suspect that they are infected.

Public health responses around the world have included travel restrictions, quarantines, curfews, and school closures. They have included the quarantine of Hubei, China, and the entirety of Italy; various curfew measures in China and South [screening methods at airports and train stations;[18] and travel advisories regarding regions with community transmission. Schools have closed nationwide or locally in some countries, affecting more than 300 million students. The wider impact of the outbreak has included social and economic instability, xenophobia and racism against people of Chinese and East Asian descent, and the online spread of misinformation and conspiracy theories about the virus.

Ramcharan Ramdat

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