Home LivingHealth What you should know about the latest virus outbreak, COVID-19

What you should know about the latest virus outbreak, COVID-19

by Andrea Tay

They say we can start 2020 with a clean slate, no regrets, no animosity towards each other and move on to a brighter day. However, this isn’t the Wawasan 2020 we were all expecting and it is absolutely frustrating. With so many things happening at once, we certainly did not expect to be part of a pandemic which is affecting everyone globally. The world is in a total panic mode as face masks and hand sanitizers are all sold out — basically making it feel like it is the end of the world.

Nevertheless, before any of the readers out there start to panic shop, here’s some information about the virus that is quite essential to know about. Also, this could help everyone clear out certain doubts as we are to receive fake news every hour.


Coronavirus is actually a family of viruses that range from the common cold to more severe illnesses.

Also known as COVID-19, this new virus was discovered by doctors after a 55-year-old individual from Hubei province Wuhan, China got infected. Dated back to November 17 2019, the individual could be the first person to contract the disease however it is uncertain if this person is patient 0. COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that can range from the common cold to more serious infections.

At the end of January 2020, the transmission of the virus is acknowledged as a “public health emergency of international concern” by the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee. Later on, COVID-19 was identified to be a pandemic by WHO; while on March 13, the President of the United States announced that COVID-19 as a national emergency.

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This new virus is quite similar to SARS-CoV (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus) and MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) which first emerged in the year 2002-2003 in Guangdong, China and Saudi Arabia in 2012.

As for COVID-19, it was traced back to a large wet market in Wuhan, China where many exotic animals are being sold in cages. Being the case of having close contact, it makes it easier for it to be an animal to a person type of spread. The virus is also surely originated from a bat and is suspected to be an animal to a person type of spread.

“We call these sorts of infections zoonotic infections — they can infect multiple mammals and cross between species,” said Dr. Jeff Kwong, an epidemiologist and scientist with ICES and Public Health Ontario.

However, as the increase of patients who got infected with this virus had no prior exposure to animals and can only be categorized as person-to-person spread illness.

There are a few levels of seriousness for this illness. From very mild coughing to sore throat, it can also lead to the severity of death. Even though the COVID-19 can be transmitted even with the slightest contact with the host, this can usually affect people who are already in their weakest state like those with heart disease, lung disease and diabetes.

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On March 17, Malaysia has been reported to have 125 new cases which make the total number of cases in the country to 553. Whilst having another 190 new cases on reported on Sunday. Both of these cases happened because of the religious rally that was held in Sri Petaling. Unfortunately, those who participated in the rally have yet to declare, making it quite dangerous for the other citizens.

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PS. As an update from today, the Malaysian government has made an announcement for a nationwide Movement Control Order with the rise of the COVID-19 cases in the country. Businesses, schools and many others have been advised to close down for the next 14 days.

Till then, stay safe and wash your hands.

Pictures by CNN health, Anna Shvets, BBC News, Andrea Piacquadio, Amine M’ Siouri, NST & CDC

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