A cluster of pneumonia of unknown etiology was reported in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China on 31 December 2019. On 7 January, Chinese authority identified a new type of coronavirus as a cause of pneumonia outbreak, which is different from any other human coronaviruses discovered so far. The new strain is named as 2019-nCoV. Afterwards on 11February 2020, this virus is named as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and disease is named as COVID-19 by World Health Organisation (WHO).
To date, other six human coronaviruses (HCoVs) have been identified. Out of these, four are globally circulated in the human population and contribute to approximately one-third of common cold infections in humans. The other two viruses are Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS Coronavirus) causing severe respiratory diseases. Coronaviruses such as SARS and MERS, are zoonotic, and can be transmitted from animals (civet cats and dromedary camels, respectively) to humans.
(SARS-CoV was first reported in 2002-2003 in Guangdong, China and MERS coronavirus was first identified in Saudi Arabia in 2012).
The precise zoonotic (animal) origin of the 2019‑nCoV is still uncertain. The virus has been identified in environmental samples from a live animal market in Wuhan, China and some human cases have been epidemiologically linked to this market.
Epidemiological evidence shows that 2019‑nCoV can be transmitted from one individual to another. In the previous outbreaks of other coronaviruses such as MERS-CoV and SARS, human-to-human transmission occurred most commonly through droplets, personal contact, and contaminated objects. The modes of transmission of 2019‑nCoV are similar.
According to WHO, additional investigations are needed to determine how the patients were infected, the extent of human-to-human transmission, the clinical spectrum of disease, and the geographic range of infection.
On 30 January 2020, the Director-General of WHO declared the 2019‑nCoV outbreak a public health emergency of international concern under the International Health Regulations (IHR) (2005).
COVID-19 outbreak was declared as pandemic by WHO on 11 March 2020. According to WHO it is a controllable pandemic and urged all countries to take a comprehensive approach considering their circumstances and with containment measures as the central pillar.
COVID-19 Situation Updates
Globally By WHO 03July 2020, 10:00 CEST
10 710 005 cases (175 723) 517 877 deaths (5 032)
as on : 04July 2020, 08:00 IST (GMT+5:30)
Total cases and deaths
Discharged/Cured/Migrated Cases: 394227
Testing Status (04/07/2020)
Cumulative total samples tested up to 03 July 2020: 95,40,132
Number of samples tested on 03 July 2020: 2,42,383
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Updated on 04 July 2020
Common symptoms of infection may be in the form of respiratory symptoms such as-
In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.
Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.
Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing hospital treatment. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart and lung problems, diabetes, or cancer, are high risk groups of developing serious illness.
People of all ages who experience fever and/or cough associated with difficulty breathing/shortness of breath, chest pain/pressure, or loss of speech or movement should seek medical attention immediately.
A novel coronavirus is a new strain of coronavirus that has not been previously identified in humans. Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that can cause mild illness in the form of common cold to severe respiratory diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).
Coronaviruses are zoonotic, it means they can be transmitted between animals and people. Previous investigations showed that other coronavirus, such as SARS-CoV was transmitted from civet cats to humans and MERS-CoV from dromedary camels to humans.
The precise origin of the 2019‑nCoV is still uncertain. The virus has been identified in environmental samples from a live animal market in Wuhan, China and some human cases have been epidemiologically linked to this market.
Mode of transmission:
Epidemiological evidence shows that 2019‑nCoV can be transmitted from one individual to another. In the previous outbreaks of other coronaviruses such as Middle-East respiratory syndrome (MERS-CoV) and the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), human-to-human transmission occurred most commonly through droplets, personal contact, and contaminated objects. The modes of transmission of 2019‑nCoV are likely to be similar.
The 2019-nCoV can be transmitted from person to person, usually after close contact with an infected patient, for example, in a household, workplace, or health care centre.
Two kinds of tests are available for COVID-19 diagnosis: tests for current infection (viral tests-molecular assays) and tests for past infection (antibody tests/serology tests).
Molecular assays: 2019-nCoV can be diagnosed by molecular assays in samples from upper respiratory tract collected as nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal swabs and from lower respiratory tract by sputum (if possible for those patients with productive coughs) and or endotracheal aspirate or bronchoalveolar lavage in patients with more severe respiratory diseases.
Molecular based tests consist of real time RT-PCR, TrueNAAT/CBNAAT. It only indicates the presence of viral material during infection and do not indicate if a person was infected and subsequently recovered.
Proper infection control measures should be maintained when collecting specimens.
Serology tests: These are blood-based tests used to identify people who have been exposed to COVID-19 virus by looking at their immune response. These tests are used for surveillance purposes to know about the prevalence of a disease in a population by identifying individuals who have developed antibodies to the virus.
An antibody test may not be able to show a current infection, because it can take 1-3 weeks after infection to make antibodies.
National Institute of Virology, Pune, India is among the various laboratories have been identified internationally to provide reference testing support for 2019-nCoV.
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Information of testing strategy
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There is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for 2019-nCoV infection. People infected with 2019-nCoV should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms. For severe cases, treatment should include care to support vital organ functions.
People who think they may have been exposed to 2019-nCoV should take precautionary measure to prevent further transmission of infection and if symptoms appear they should contact their healthcare provider immediately
There is currently no vaccine to prevent 2019-nCoV infection. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus.
Everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses should be followed, these include:
As a general precaution, practice general hygiene measures when visiting live animal markets, wet markets or animal product markets-
Contacts should be monitored for 14 days from the last unprotected contact.
Key advice for older adults and people with pre-existing conditions:
With a combination of public health measures disease spread can be prevented and controlled,such as