Beijing International airport | Wiki Commons
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New Delhi: Just over a month ago, someone in China’s central Wuhan city complained of pneumonia-like symptoms. It took a probe to know the cause for the illness. It was coronavirus, which has a deadly history in the Asian country.

Wuhan has now seen at least 41 such pneumonia cases, including seven severely ill patients and a death.

On Sunday, the World Health Organization said there is a possibility that a new strain of coronavirus spread through human-to-human transmission, and a wider outbreak remains a concern.

On Thursday, Japan confirmed its first case of the infection from the new strain. This came three days after a Chinese woman was also ordered quarantined in Thailand after contacting the virus, reported Al-Jazeera.

ThePrint takes a quick look at what the virus does, how it has spread this time, and China’s history with it.

Also read: Your body clock affects your immune system. Removing the clock gene helps fight bacteria

What is coronavirus?

According to an NBC News report, coronaviruses are “large family of viruses that was first identified in humans in the mid-1960s”. While some of these viruses cause common cold, others “found in bats, camels and other animals can evolve into more severe illnesses” such as SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome).

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Coughing or sneezing, or touching an infected person can spread the coronavirus. A running nose, headache, cough and fever are some of the common symptoms, according to the report.

US federal agency Center for Disease Control and Prevention says shortness of breath, body aches and chills are associated with more dangerous kinds of coronavirus.

The virus gets its name from the Latin ‘corona’ (halo or crown) as it resembles one when viewed under an electron microscope.

How it spread this time

The present illness does not readily transmit between people, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission has reportedly said.

The commission said it is a possibility that the infected people caught the virus from animals at a seafood market, where some of the infected patients ran businesses.

In its statement, the WHO said it hasn’t recommended any specific health measures for travellers currently. However, the body encouraged travellers to seek medical attention and share travel history with their healthcare provider in case of any symptoms that are suggestive of respiratory illness either during or after travelling.

China’s history with coronavirus

In 2002, a severe SARS epidemic broke out in Guangdong Province in China. The epidemic reached its peak in the first week of February 2003. Over 8,000 people were infected in 37 countries before the situation was brought under control. Nearly 800 people died.

At the time, the epidemic’s cause was unknown. However, it was later revealed to be coronavirus.

Also read: Pakistan HIV outbreak caused by infected needles, contaminated blood transfusions: Study


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1 Comment Share Your Views


    News reports have brought out warning on 14 January 2020 issued by WHO of a new corona virus that has struck in a city of China. The symptom of the disease is said to be pneumonia and it could have been through exposure to seafood market in Wuhan city of China. The virus was detected following about 41 cases of pneumonia were treated in Wuhan city in China. It was first detected in early December 2019. And a limited human-to-human transmission has been mentioned which can be read to imply that a limited contact with such patients has the potential of spreading. The warning to hospitals world-wide is reported to have been issued. In this context , it is apt to refer readers to this Vedic astrology writer’s predictive alert of 11 November , 2019 through article – “ Astrological probable alerts for 2020” – published on 1 January 2020 at The text of the related alert reads like this in the article :-
    “ More care and appropriate strategy may be taken during April to June , particularly May-June in 2020 against …………………such stuff as are known for repugnant and repulsive smell through air…………………foodstuff , seafood …….could be either hit or face serious issues”. In another article covering Italy through article – “ Potential of stars for Italy in soon coming year 2020” – published on 15 December 2019 at , November –December 2020 have been alerted like this :-“ This scenario can also mean worrisome ailments involving respiratory system in the body”. So , in short , it may be alright to take precautions particularly during a period of three months from April to June and last two months of November-December 2020 when the probability of the virus likely impacting vulnerable pockets across the world cannot be ruled out.


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