Lots of theories have been proposed to explain the origins of the coronavirus which recently took China by storm. Some say that it came from bats but that has not yet been confirmed as scientists are currently and publicly sharing an ever-growing number of full sequences of the virus from patients in the Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data database. These viral genomes are being intensely studied to try to understand the origin of 2019-nCoV and how it fits on the family tree of related viruses found in bats and other species.
The World Health Organisation urges people to:
- Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water;
- When coughing and sneezing cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue – throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands;
- Avoid close contact with anyone who has a fever and cough;
- If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing seek medical care early and share previous travel history with your health care provider;
- When visiting live markets in areas currently experiencing cases of novel coronavirus, avoid direct unprotected contact with live animals and surfaces in contact with animals;
- The consumption of raw or undercooked animal products should be avoided. Raw meat, milk or animal organs should be handled with care, to avoid cross-contamination with uncooked foods, as per good food safety practices.