February 29, 2020: The coronavirus outbreak began in Wuhan, a city of more than 11 million people and the capital of Hubei province in China.
The vast majority of infections are being reported in mainland China but cases have now been confirmed in 55 countries, including 19 cases in the UK.
The number of confirmed cases has risen rapidly since the respiratory virus emerged in December from its suspected source in a Wuhan wildlife market.
If Covid-19 cannot be controlled, it could affect about two-thirds of the world’s population, according to a leading public health expert in Hong Kong.
The latest data from Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering shows that the number of deaths has exceeded 2,800.
Thousands of people affected by the coronavirus globally have already recovered. As Covid-19 is a viral illness, antibiotics are of no use and neither are antiviral drugs that work against flu. Recovery depends on the strength of the immune system and many of those who have died were already in poor health. The World Health Organization recommends people take simple precautions to reduce exposure and transmission.