What is the coronavirus?

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LONDON: The coronavirus is one of seven strains of a virus class that are known to infect humans. Others trigger everything from the common cold to severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars), which killed 774 people during its 2002/3 outbreak.

Since the coronavirus outbreak was identified, more than 2.7 million cases have been confirmed worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University. Of these cases, over 745,000 are known to have “recovered”.

The coronavirus mainly spreads face to face via infected droplets expelled in a cough or sneeze. There is also evidence it may be transmitted in faeces and survive on surfaces. The coronavirus has no “set” treatment, with most patients naturally fighting off the infection.

Those requiring hospitalisation are given “supportive care”, like ventilation, while their immune system gets to work. Officials urge people to ward off the coronavirus by washing their hands regularly and maintaining social distancing.