The 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic is an ongoing pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus(SARS-CoV-2).The outbreak was first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, in December 2019. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on 30 January 2020 and recognized it as a pandemic on 11 March 2020.As of 2 April 2020, more than 965,000 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in over 200 countries and territories, resulting in over 49,200 deaths. More than 203,000 people have recovered.
The virus is mainly spread during close contact and by small droplets produced when people cough or sneeze.Respiratory droplets may be produced during breathing but the virus is not generally airborne. People may also catch COVID-19 by touching a contaminated surface and then their face. It is most contagious when people are symptomatic, although spread may be possible before symptoms appear. The time between exposure and symptom onset is typically around five days, but may range from 2 to 14 days.Common symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Complications may include pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome.There is no known vaccine or specific antiviral treatment.Primary treatment is symptomatic and supportive therapy.Recommended preventive measures include hand washing, covering one’s mouth when coughing, maintaining distance from other people, and monitoring and self-isolation for people who suspect they are infected.
Efforts to prevent the virus spreading include travel restrictions, quarantines, curfews, workplace hazard controls, event postponements and cancellations, and facility closures. These include national or regional quarantines throughout the world (starting with the quarantine of Hubei), curfew measures in mainland China and South Korea, various border closures or incoming passenger restrictions, screening at airports and train stations, and outgoing passenger travel bans.
The pandemic has led to severe global socioeconomic disruption, the postponement or cancellation of sporting, religious, and cultural events, and widespread fears of supply shortages resulting in panic buying. Schools and universities have closed either on a nationwide or local basis in more than 160 countries, affecting more than 1.5 billion students.Misinformation and conspiracy theories about the virus have spread online, and there have been numerous incidents of xenophobia and discrimination against Chinese people and people of Asian descent at hotspots. António Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations, stated on 1 April that the coronavirus is the greatest test that the world has faced since World War II, and that a global recession is coming “that probably has no parallel in the recent past”.