On December 31, 2019, several cases of pneumonia in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China were reported to the World Health Organization (WHO).
The novel virus, now known as SARS-CoV-2 (previously known as 2019-nCoV), a RNA virus of the beta coronavirus family, has since spread across China and to other countries and territories.
The WHO has named the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 as coronavirus disease 2019 (abbreviated “COVID-19”)
The disease causes respiratory illness (like the flu) with symptoms such as a cough, fever, and in more severe cases, difficulty breathing.
You can protect yourself by washing your hands frequently, avoiding touching your face, and avoiding close contact (1 meter or 3 feet) with people who are unwell.
Coronavirus disease spreads primarily through contact with an infected person when they cough or sneeze.
It also spreads when a person touches a surface or object that has the virus on it, then touches their eyes, nose, or mouth.
Diagnostic testing for COVID-19 is critical to tracking the virus, understanding epidemiology, informing case management, and to suppressing transmission.
There are laboratory and Blood tests that can identify the virus that causes COVID-19 in respiratory specimens.