Novel coronavirus update
What is novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) acute respiratory disease?
A coronavirus is a type of virus. As a group, coronaviruses are common across the world. Typical symptoms of coronavirus include fever and a cough; in some people, the illness may progress to a severe pneumonia causing shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.
Generally, coronavirus can cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, older people, and those with long-term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease.
Novel coronavirus (2019-nCov) is a new strain of coronavirus first identified in Wuhan City, China. Cases of 2019-nCoV infection have now been identified in other countries. 2019-nCoV infections have not occurred in humans before.
Risk of being infected with 2019-nCoV in the UK?
The risk of a person getting the illness in the UK is low although the first cases have been confirmed in the UK but not in the South West. This is an evolving situation and therefore advice may change over time. Precautionary measures are being taken in the UK to limit the potential spread of infection.
How 2019-nCoV infection is spread?
From what is known about other coronaviruses, spread of 2019-nCoV is most likely to happen when there is close contact (within 2 metres or less) with an infected person. It is likely that the risk increases the longer someone has close contact with an infected person. Respiratory droplets containing the virus are most likely to be the most important means of transmission; these are produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Additionally, it is possible (but not proven) that someone may become infected by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes.
Who may be at risk of 2019-nCoV infection?
Currently, the vast majority of infections have occurred within China. A smaller number of patients with 2019-nCoV have been identified in other countries, including the UK; most of these infections occurred in people who had recently travelled to or arrive from China.
Where can people access the latest information?
Public Health England is the key source of information, guidance and advice. Their website can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-information-for-the-public.