The coronavirus scare in GCC: What you need to know
Since the time the novel coronavirus was first detected by scientists in September 2012, the World Health Organisation (WHO) have reported a total of 41 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection globally, including 20 deaths. Reports of infections have been mainly originating from the Middle East – Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in particular, prompting scientists to call the virus: Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus or (MERS-CoV). Read full report here.
In Qatar, around 70 suspected cases of the deadly corona virus were detected since September last year, out of which two were confirmed cases. No new cases have been reported in Qatar. But as a precautionary measure, Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) has reserved 18 rooms to accommodate patients with confirmed cases of coronavirus, said a report in Peninsula.
Here are a few things you would want to know about the new virus:
What are coronaviruses? They are a large family of viruses that are known to cause respiratory ailments ranging from common cold to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in humans.
Symptoms? Though researchers are still studying the symptoms of viral infection, patients with confirmed cases have been reported to suffer from acute respiratory illness with fever, cough, shortness of breath, and breathing difficulties.
Is it contagious? Research is underway, but it’s most likely to be transmitted from human to human like the common flu virus.
Can it be treated? There is no vaccine available yet, but respiratory illness symptoms associated with this virus are generally treatable.