On December 31, the World Health Organization (WHO) was alerted by Chinese health authorities about pneumonia-like cases that have originated in a seafood market in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province that is home to around 11 million people.

China reported that 44 patients have been quarantined as it begins to identify the origin of the unknown disease.

On January 5, the Department of Health (DOH) ordered the strict monitoring of incoming travelers in all seaports and airports due to this mysterious disease.

Health Sec. Francisco Duque III especially instructed the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) to step up monitoring activities and be on alert to spot travelers manifesting fever or signs of respiratory inspection after learning about the report.

“I urge the public, especially those with history of travel from China, to seek immediate medical consult if experiencing any flu-like symptoms,” Duque said.

“Let us also embrace healthy lifestyles, practice proper hand hygiene, and observe cough etiquette to prevent transmission of respiratory infections” he added.

The first death that the mysterious respiratory illness had caused was reported on January 11, 2020. The total number to date, however, is four.

But what else do we really know about this coronavirus that is spreading across China? Here’s what we have gathered so far from the World Health Organization and other sources, such as the Science Alert:

* 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).

* It’s a novel coronavirus (nCoV), a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.

* Coronaviruses are zoonotic — they are transmitted between animals and people. Investigations said SARS-CoV was transmitted from civet cats to humans and MERS-CoV from dromedary camels to humans.

* Common signs of infection include: respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and even death.

* First case out of China recorded in Thailand on January 13 and the next in Japan on January 16. A case has also been detected in South Korea.

* The third death was recorded on January 20 and more than 100 new cases recorded in China ahead of the Lunar New Year.

* DOH Epidemiology Bureau director Dr. Ferchito Avelino confirmed Tuesday that a child from China tested positive for coronavirus while staying in the Philippines. The five-year-old from Wuhan reportedly arrived in Cebu City on January 12 to study English. Samples that were taken from the boy reportedly tested positive for non-specific pancoronavirus.

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