MANILA - The World Health Organization has urged the public to keep calm and rely on credible sources of information as false reports proliferate on social media.
The flu-like illness has killed 490 in China and infected 23,400 others. Suspected cases of the new coronavirus in the Philippines climbed to 105 as of Tuesday.
Here's what we know so far about the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV):
- The new coronavirus has a mortality rate of 2.1 percent, much lower than the nearly 10 percent of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2002-2003, which claimed the lives of some 800 people
- Over 97 percent of new coronavirus victims came from the Chinese central province of Hubei, where a market that sold wild animals in the capital city Wuhan, is believed to be the epicenter of the epidemic
- The novel coronavirus can be transmitted from person to person, primarily through contact with an infected person's respiratory droplets, for example, coughs or sneezes
- Symptoms include runny nose, sore throat, cough, and fever. It can be more severe for some persons and lead to pneumonia or breathing difficulties. More rarely, the disease can be fatal.
- The elderly and people with pre-existing medical conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease, appear to be more at risk of developing severe disease
- People who show symptoms of the new coronavirus cause the majority of the virus spread. However, it may be possible that people infected with 2019-nCoV may be infectious before showing significant symptoms
- It is safe to receive packages from China or any other places with a confirmed case of the new coronavirus, as most of coronaviruses do not survive long on objects
- To date, there is no specific medicine recommended to prevent or treat the new coronavirus. Antibiotics should not be used as a means of prevention or treatment as these only work on bacterial infections
- Vaccines against pneumonia do not provide protection against the novel coronavirus but are highly recommended to protect one's health
- Frequent hand washing, practicing cough etiquette, maintaining distance from those who are coughing, sneezing and have a fever, and avoiding consumption of raw or undercooked animal products are recommended in preventing contraction of the new coronavirus