Coronavirus (COVID-19): Origin, Symptoms, Types and Infected countries

Coronavirus, the mysterious virus outbreak began in China and now several countries are also affected. The death toll from the coronavirus epidemic in China climbed to 2,715 on 27 February, 2020 and the total number of infected cases are more than 81,000. What is coronavirus (COVID-19)? Let us study in detail and also the list of the countries affected due to coronavirus (COVID-19).    
Feb 27, 2020 10:52 IST
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What is Coronavirus?
What is Coronavirus?

The first case of novel coronavirus was identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. The WHO and other organisations named the new illness caused due to coronavirus is COVID-19 (Coronavirus disease 2019).

According to the World Health Organisation, the role of environmental contamination in the transmission of COVID-19 is not yet clear. A new protocol was published on 18 February, 2020 entitled "Surface sampling of coronavirus disease (COVID-19): A practical "how to" protocol for health care and public health professionals".

Health experts suggested people use masks and wash their hands. Novel coronavirus displayed several other symptoms according to China's National Health Commission including breathing difficulty, chest tightness, and coughing. It is also said that the Chinese krait and the Chinese cobra may be the source of deadly coronavirus. The disease continues to spread in Asia and across the world.

Not only this, Coronavirus can spread between people which raised the possibility of increased transmissions because China enters into the busy Lunar New Year travel period. The news related to transmission has been confirmed by some Chinese experts appointed by the China government.

According to Zhong Nanshan, the head of the team set up by China's National Health Commission told that coronavirus can spread from person to person and some new cases of the same have been found. Medical staff had also been infected. Earlier, it was traced by the health officials that the virus passed from animals to humans through seafood market.

Now, Coronavirus spreads across the globe. As we know that a novel (new) coronavirus is said to have originated in the central Chinese city of Wuhan and further cases have been exported to Thailand, Japan, etc. According to Chinese authorities, patients were suffering from fever, cough, difficulty in breathing and pneumonia. 

It is said that coronavirus belongs to the same family as the SARS virus. The coronavirus disease is connected to a seafood market in China. Before going into detail about coronavirus (COVID-19), first, we will see from where and how the case of coronavirus is detected and its history?

novel coronavirus

According to WHO, a Chinese national travelling in Thailand was the first confirmed case of coronavirus infection outside China on 13 January 2020.

The statement given by WHO is" The possibility of cases being identified in other countries was not unexpected, and reinforces why WHO calls for ongoing active monitoring and preparedness in other countries”.

The full genome of the new virus has been posted by the Chinese authorities and it has been named as 'novel coronavirus 2019' (mCoV-2019) according to the CDC situation summary.

Note: CDC is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which is closely monitoring an outbreak caused by a new coronavirus in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China.

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It is also said that the disease is linked to a large seafood and animal market that is animal-to-person spread. Some patients even had no exposure to the animal market, therefore it is suggested that some limited person-to-person spread may be occurring. Investigations are going on.

Now, let us study about coronavirus (COVID-19).

What is Coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are of the family of Nidovirus. They are various types of viruses that affect the respiratory tract of mammals, including humans. Some of the symptoms associated with COVID-19 are the common cold, pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and can also affect the gut.

Coronavirus can cause illness from the common cold to more severe diseases like Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). Some detailed investigations show that SARS-CoV was transmitted from civet cats to humans and MERS-CoV from dromedary camels to humans.

Six types of coronavirus are found that infect humans and many others that infect animals.

The coronavirus that causes disease in humans is found in two genera namely alphacoronaviruses (HCoV-229E, HCoV-NL63) and betacoronaviruses (HCoV-HKU1, HCoV-OC43, and the coronavirus associated with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)). In 2012, an additional novel betacoronavirus was identified that can cause human disease-Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV).

Common human coronaviruses types are 229E, NL63, OC43, and HKU1 that usually cause mild to moderate upper-respiratory tract illness like a common cold.

Symptoms of Coronavirus disease

- Headache

- Runny Nose

- Cough

- Sore Throat

- Fever

- A general feeling of human unwell.

- Sneezing

- Rare cases of Fever

- Exacerbated asthma

- Fatigue

Sometimes it also causes pneumonia, bronchitis. It is common in people who have a weak immune system, in infants, older adults, etc.

Encephalitis (Chamki Fever): Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV cause severe symptoms including fever, cough, and shortness of breathing which results in pneumonia. Severe cases may cause kidney failure and even death.

History of patients suffering from MERS-CoV

First Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) appeared in 2012 in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Europe. The first American case was hospitalised in April 2014 and another in Florida. Both returned from Saudi Arabia. In Korea, the MERS outbreak in May 2015 was the largest outbreak outside the Arabian Peninsula. MERS symptoms may include fever, breathlessness, and coughing.

About SARS-CoV

In 2003, people also died from severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). Let us tell you that in the 1960s, the first case of human coronavirus was identified but from where it came nobody knows. SARS is a life-threatening form of pneumonia. It can also cause gastroenteritis and can infect both the upper and lower respiratory tract.

Symptoms of SARS may include dry coughing, chills, diarrhoea, breathlessness and aches, severe lung infection and in the most advanced stages, SARS may cause the failure of the lungs, heart or liver.

From where coronavirus got its name?

Due to their crown-like projections on the surfaces coronaviruses got their name. The virus resembles like a crown when viewed under an electron microscope. "Corona” in Latin means "halo" or "crown".

Treatment or how to prevent from an infection

- Regular hand washing

- During coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose.

- Properly cooked meat and eggs.

- Avoid contact from the person showing symptoms of respiratory illness.

Therefore, we can say that there is no proper cure and treatments including taking care of yourself and over-the-counter (OTC) medication.

- Do proper rest and avoid overexertion.

- Drink enough water.

- Avoid smoking and smoky areas.

- Take medicine to reduce pain and fever.

- Use a clean humidifier or cool mist vaporiser.

How coronavirus disease spread?

- While coughing and sneezing, an infection spread into the air and spread the virus.

- While touching or shaking hands with an infected person can also pass the virus.

- Making in contact with a surface or object that has a virus and while touching nose, eyes or mouth.

- Rarely, coronavirus may spread through contact with feces.

According to WHO,  countries, territories or areas with reported confirmed cases of 2019-nCoV (3 February, 2020)


Confirmed New Cases

Total (new) deaths


17238 (2831)




Republic of Korea


Viet Nam

8 (1)
















Sri Lanka 



3 (1)

United States of


11 (3)








10 (2)



Russian Federation






United Kingdom


United Arab Emirates



17391 (2838)

362 (57)

*Confirmed cases in China include cases confirmed in Hong Kong SAR (15 confirmed cases (1 new)), Macao SAR (8 confirmed cases (1 new)) and Taipei (10 confirmed cases). 

Therefore, we can say that coronavirus is a large family of viruses that cause illness from the common cold to more severe diseases.

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