What is Coronavirus

According to the World Health Organization  (i), Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).

What is 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)

The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a new strain of coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China in end 2019.  Patients who have been diagnosed with the new coronavirus have showed symptoms including fever, coughing and shortness of breath. According to Centre for Health Protection, Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US (CDC) (ii, iii), the incubation period of the new coronavirus ranges from 2 to 14 days, and the main mode of transmission is through respiratory droplets and contact.

Understand Coronavirus & what can I do to prevent:

2019 Novel Coronavirus Symptoms

According to current information (iv, v), patients with 2019-nCoV infections have reported mild to severe respiratory illnesses with symptoms including:

  • Fever
  • Cough / Dry cough
  • Malaise
  • Shortness of breath

According to CDC, symptoms of 2019-nCoV may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure. This is based on what has been seen previously as the incubation period of MERS viruses (iv).

How 2019 Novel Coronavirus is spread

CDC states that 2019-nCoV most commonly spread from an infected person to others through (vi):

  • the air by coughing and sneezing
  • close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
  • touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands
  • fecal contamination

Currently, it’s unclear how easily or sustainably 2019-nCoV is spreading between people. There is much more to learn about the transmissibility, severity, and other features associated with 2019-nCoV and investigations are ongoing.

How to help protect from the 2019 Novel Coronavirus

The best way to protect yourself is avoid being exposed to the virus. If you have to go out, you should pay attention to the following preventative steps to help prevent the spread of respiratory virus, including (ii, vii):

  • Avoid going to crowded places
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces, e.g. mobile phone, wallet, computer mouse and computer
  • When having respiratory symptoms, wear a surgical mask, refrain from work or attending class at school, avoid going to crowded places and seek medical advice promptly
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, dispose of soiled tissues into a lidded rubbish, then wash hands thoroughly bin
  • Wear a surgical mask when go out, dispose of used surgical mask into a lidded rubbish

Maintaining good personal and environmental hygiene can effectively prevent virus transmission. If you develop any symptoms indicative of Coronavirus, seek medical advice promptly, take the initiative to inform the doctor of any recent travel history and symptoms.


Some tips for preventions:

Prevention tips:


Handwashing steps:


Prevention at home:


Please refer to the  Hong Kong Department of Health Centre for Health Protection website at for additional information.


i. World Health Organization: Coronavirus

ii. Hong Kong Department of Health Centre for Health Protection: Severe Respiratory Disease associated with a Novel Infectious Agent

iii. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: 2019-nCoV

iv. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Symptoms of 2019-nCoV

v. Hong Kong Department of Health Centre for Health Protection: Symptoms of Severe Respiratory Disease associated with a Novel Infectious Agent

vi. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Transmission of 2019-nCoV

vii. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Prevention & treatment of 2019-nCoV