Coronavirus outbreak: Should you be worried?

Coronavirus outbreak

A new virus has been detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan. Though largely restricted to China, it has triggered a global scare with new cases being reported worldwide.

What is the 2019 Novel Coronavirus?

The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a new respiratory virus that has not been previously identified. It belongs to a broad family of viruses, named Coronaviruses. The infamous SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) viruses, identified in 2003 and 2012, respectively, belong to the same family.

How does the Novel Coronavirus spread?

This virus probably emerged from an animal source. Now, it seems to spread from person to person through:

  • Act of direct contact like shaking hands, with a person infected with Coronavirus
  • Exposure to droplets released in the air by coughing infected with Coronavirus
  • Touching objects or surfaces used by a person infected with Coronavirus and, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes without washing your hands.

Can it be deadly?

As per currently available information, the Novel Coronavirus might have slightly higher fatality than previously identified viruses of the Coronavirus family. The major concern is that when a virus is new, we do not know how it may affect people.

Can you be at risk being in India?

As of January 30, 2020, one positive case of the Novel Coronavirus has been reported in Kerala. The patient, who has been kept in isolation in a hospital, is stable and is being closely monitored.

The virus is not spreading in India right now. You can only be at risk if you

  • Have travelled to China since January 1, 2020 and experience symptoms like fever, cough, or breathing difficulties.
  • Have come in contact with someone who has a travel history of visiting China since January 1, 2020.

Helpline for Novel Coronavirus

If you seek any help or have a query related to this infection, please call 011-23978046, a helpline issued by the National centre of Disease Control (NCDC), Ministry of Health & Family Welfare-Govt. of India


  • Avoid any travel to China until the situation gets clear.
  • If you have travelled to China since January 1, 2020, self-report to the call centre and visit the nearest health facility if you are experiencing fever, cough or breathing difficulties. Do let the doctor know your travel history.

How can you protect yourself?

Currently, there is no vaccine to prevent or cure the Novel Coronavirus infection. But, timely medical care can help relieve symptoms and control complications.

The best way to prevent infection is to prevent being exposed to the virus.

Follow these everyday tips without fail to help prevent the spread of several respiratory viruses:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay at home and take adequate rest and plenty of fluids when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze under your inner elbow or use a tissue. Ensure to throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

So far, the condition is rapidly emerging and organizations worldwide are working to get more information around the Novel Coronavirus. We urge you to only refer to credible health information sources.

Still have questions?

Watch this video to know more details about coronavirus.
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World Health Organization
Centre for Disease Control and Prevention
National Centre for Disease Control, Ministry of Health & Family welfare-Govt. of India.

(& NCDC advisory issued as on January 25, 2020)

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