Coronavirus pandemic: Here is your complete guide to Covid-19

new kind of coronavirus discovered late last year in central China has now spread with ruthless speed to every continent on earth except Antarctica. It has killed thousands, disrupted daily life in ways that would have seemed unthinkable at the start of the new year, and now poses a dire threat to the health of the world economy. The World Health Organisation says the coronavirus pandemic is the "defining global health crisis of our time", capable of revealing the best and worst in humanity. On March 22, Prime Minister Narendra Modi pointed out the scale of the challenge: "Even World War I and II didn't affect as many countries as the coronavirus has done."
This story is a comprehensive guide to the coronavirus pandemic: it has all the important information you need to protect yourself, your family and your community. It will be updated with more sections in the days and weeks to come, so you can explore other facets of the crisis: the spread of dangerous fake news, the impact on global business, and changes in everyday lifeacross the world. It will also show you how you can use this website to keep yourself and your loved ones informed about the growing coronavirus outbreak in India. 
First things first. "Coronavirus" isn't the name of the pathogen that's been sickening and killing people around the world these past few months.
Coronaviruses are actually a big family of viruses, named for the crown-like effect created by spikes on their surface -- these are actually proteins that help them invade human cells. Some coronaviruses, in fact, cause the common cold.
What we're dealing with right now is a new, or novel coronavirus. It has a name: Sars-Cov-2. (Pronounce the first two parts like words: "saars" and "kawv".)
Don't confuse Sars-Cov-2 with the coronavirus that caused the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003 -- they're related, but not the same.
Click on the photographs below to get a closer look
So, what is Covid-19, then?
That's the name of the respiratory illness caused by the new coronavirus. Short for coronavirus disease 2019, it was first detected when a cluster of mysterious pneumonia cases emerged in China's Wuhan city late last year. (Pronounce Covid-19 like a word, too: "ko-vid-nineteen".)
How can you protect yourself? Here's a list of precautionary measures based on information provided by the World Health Organisation, the Indian government, and the US Centres for Disease Control.


Regularly wash your hands with soap and water, or with an handrub (sanitiser)
with at least 60% alcohol. Soap in particular is super-effective, as it dissolves the fat membrane of the coronavirus, causing it to "fall apart like a house of cards", according to a tweet-thread recently posted by Pall Thordarson (@PalliThordarson), a professor of chemistry at the University of New South Wales.
STOP TOUCHING YOUR FACE. Yes, it's REALLY hard -- we know -- but this
 prevents you from transferring the virus to your eyes, mouth or 
nose if your hands have been contaminated by contact with a surface or a patient.
When you cough or sneeze, cover your face with a bent elbow or tissue -- 
which you should then dispose of quickly and safely.
Practice social distancing. If you are in India, you are under lockdown -- 
and so this should already be happening. If you do need to step out
 (to buy essentials, for example), make sure you stay at least 1 metre 
away from other people. In fact, many are advising a distance of nearly 2 metres (6 feet).
If you are a senior citizen -- or suffer from pre-existing medical conditions like
 heart disease or diabetes -- social distancing and other precautions are especially crucial. These groups are at greater risk for serious illness.
Not everyone needs to wear a mask. Wear one only if you have fever, a cough or 
breathing difficulties, are taking care of a suspected or confirmed Covid-19 patient, or are a health professional working with patients with respiratory symptoms. Fit your mask
 tighly around you nose, mouth and chin. Don't touch it during use -- especially 
the outer surface (which could be contaminated) -- and wash your hands
 with soap/alcohol-based rub after taking it off. Don't reuse
 disposable masks. Change yours after six hours, or if it becomes wet.
Avoid handshakes and hugs while greeting people.
Avoid all non-essential travel. (Again, if you are in India, 
you currently cannot step out of your home except to avail essential services.)
Don't panic, but don't be complacent either

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