The UN body, 'World Health Organization' is set to decide if the outbreak of a new Chinese strain of coronavirus -- a cousin of the devastating SARS virus -- is "a public health emergency of international concern". Such a declaration would be significant. It means the WHO thinks immediate and coordinated international action may be needed to contain the infectant, which has caused nine deaths in China and caused hundreds to fall sick across Asia. Cases have been reported in several places outside China, including Japan and the United States.
China says the new strain of coronavirus (2019-nCoV) has killed nine people, and that 440 people in 13 provinces are carrying infections. As per officials the virus can be transmitted between humans, and China says there's evidence of respiratory transmission from patient to patient.
Keep in mind that coronavirus is not the name of a specific species, but rather a class of viruses, including the type that causes SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome).
WHO has released a list of standard precautions:
- washing your hands regularly
- covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze
- cooking meat and eggs thoroughly
- Avoiding close contact with people with symptoms of respiratory illness
Earlier China had warned about the mutation ability of the virus The new strain of coronavirus originated in a market with illegal wildlife transactions and is adapting and mutating, China's Centre for Disease Control and Prevention says.
INFOGRAPHIC: Precautions for lowering risk of infection
What are coronaviruses?
"Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that range from the common cold to MERS coronavirus, which is Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus, and SARS, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus. Coronaviruses are circulating in animals and some of [them] have the capability of transmitting between animals and humans. We call that a spillover event."