In January 2020 Chinese authorities confirmed a new type of coronavirus, known as COVID-19 (formerly known as 2019-nCoV) which affects the respiratory system.
What is novel coronavirus (COVID-19)?
Coronaviruses are a large and diverse family of viruses which includes the common cold, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).
In January 2020, officials identified a new coronavirus called novel coronavirus or 2019-nCoV (now known as COVID-19).
It isn't yet known how COVID-19 is transmitted to people, but it’s likely that it comes from an animal. A live animal market in Wuhan is suspected as the original source, but that hasn’t been confirmed. There is evidence that COVID-19 can spread from person to person in the community and in healthcare settings. There have been cases of COVID-19 reported in some other Chinese provinces and countries. Some of these cases have no history of travel to Wuhan.
For the most up-to-date Coronavirus information, please see the Ministry of Health website.
Signs and symptoms
Symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to a range of other illnesses such as influenza and do not necessarily mean that you have COVID-19. Symptoms include fever, coughing and difficulty breathing. Difficulty breathing is a sign of possible pneumonia and requires immediate medical attention.
Advice for travellers
For current advice is regards to travel, please see the government's SafeTravel website.
Advice for schools
For current advice for schools, please see this Ministry of Education webpage.