Coronavirus explained: Why is it called coronavirus? What does corona mean?

Coronavirus is continuing to spread around the world, with 90,912 people infected and 3,117 to have died. Travellers from affected areas are being urged to self-isolate, and now in Iran the death toll from coronavirus had risen to 66 and the total number of infected people now stands at 1,501, the highest number of deaths from the virus outside China.

The number of confirmed infections in China has risen to 80,155 as of Tuesday morning.

The National Health Commission said the number of deaths in China rose to 2,944 and more cases are breaking out around the world..

Since the virus was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December, outbreaks have been confirmed in 76 countries and territories.

Now the global total death toll has surpassed 3,100, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson warning it could get worse before it gets better.

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The United States has now confirmed 97 cases of coronavirus with 44 alone from the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

In the UK, 40 cases have been confirmed, with a staggering 13 announced on Sunday alone.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock told BBC Breakfast the action plan would set out measures to deal with the Covid-19 virus, when the number of cases was relatively small, and also measures to delay the spread, and if it becomes a pandemic, actions that “we might have to take to mitigate it”.

He said: “It’s quite unusual for a Government to publish a plan with things in it we hope we won’t have to do.”

Asked about the cancellation of mass gatherings such as the London Marathon next month, Mr Hancock said: “It’s far too early to be able to tell in that instance.

“What we can say for sure is that right now, we do not recommend the cancelling of mass events, and schools as well should not be closing unless there is both a positive case and the school has had the advice to close from Public Health England.

“So right now, as long as you wash your hands more often that is the number one thing you can do to keep you and the country safe.

“And capture a sneeze or a cough if you have one and then follow the public health advice if you’ve travelled from one of the affected areas.”

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Although many airlines cancelling flights to China and some businesses including Starbucks and McDonald’s temporarily closing hundreds of shops, Dr Tedros said WHO was not recommending restricing travel or trade to China.

He said: “There is no reason for measures that unnecessarily interfere with international travel and trade.”

However, the United States state department has advised against all travel to China due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Russia has also said it was closing its 4,185-kilometre (2,600-mile) border with China.

Why is it called coronavirus? What does corona mean?

According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) coronaviruses are a group of viruses which produce symptoms similar to that of flu.

Symptoms can range from a runny nose, cough, sore throat and fever, but can also escalate to pneumonia.

Coronavirus gets its name from the word ‘corona’ which means crown in Latin.

Coronavirus has a series of crown-like spikes on its surface, which is the reason for the name.

Other well-known coronaviruses include severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).

The first SARS outbreak came in China between November 2002 and July 2003 which triggered 8,098 cases, resulting in 774 deaths reported in 17 countries.

MERS was first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012 and has since spread to several other countries, including the United States.

Most people infected with MERS-CoV developed severe respiratory illness, including fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Many of them have died.

Dr Mike Ryan, head of WHO health emergencies programmes, said China had “a laser focus” on stopping the coronavirus outbreak.

He said: “We are at an important juncture in this event. We believe these chains of transmission can still be interrupted.

Referring to China he continued: “They are taking extraordinary measures in the face of what is an extraordinary challenge.”

The coronavirus has remained “remarkably stable”, according to Dr Ryan, a veteran of outbreaks including the SARS epidemic as well as Ebola outbreaks in West Africa.

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