Japan is the latest country to announce its first fatality from the outbreak. This has brought the total cases around the world to almost 50,000 people. Symptoms include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.
But travel health and tropical disease expert, Dr Richard Dawood, of The Fleet Street Clinic, warned there is one particularly “dangerous” feature of Coronavirus that people should be most concerned about is how easily the disease can spread.
He told Express.co.uk: “The situation is evolving on a daily basis, but on average each infected case seems to be resulting in two further cases.
“Until the transmission cycle can be reduced, it will continue to spread.
“Our knowledge is still at an early stage – after all it’s been barely two months since the first known case. Covid-19, as it has now been named, is much less dangerous than SARS was, but definitely more dangerous than flu.
Coronavirus has killed a person in Japan
“We don’t yet know how easily it spreads from people who do not yet feel unwell or know they have been infected: if it turns out to spread easily, that could perhaps be its most dangerous feature.”
Dr Dawood added there are many ways for people to help ensure the disease is not spread.
He said: “There’s a huge public health effort to trace contacts and isolate cases, with the aim of stopping or at least delaying spread into the general population.
“The numbers so far are small and possibly containable: the Director General of the WHO described the outbreak as a spark that could ignite a bigger flame – but that for now is still only a spark.
“The numbers so far are incredibly small and no one city in the UK poses any greater threat than any other.
READ MORE: UK coronavirus: What should you do if you think you have it?
There are many ways fro people to help ensure the disease is not spread
“The technology for responding to this outbreak is better than at any time in human history – the genome of the virus was ‘decoded’ within four weeks of the first case, which will certainly speed up the development of vaccines and antiviral drugs.
“But unfortunately the lead time for that is still measured in months and years rather than days or weeks. In the meantime, other measures will be needed to reduce spread: contact tracing, isolation, hygiene measures, and social distancing.”
There is no cure for coronavirus at the moment.
Chinese scientists are currently testing two antiviral drugs.
Coronavirus panic after Bali tourist diagnosed [REVEALED]
Coronavirus cover up: Mystery as whistleblower goes missing [DEVELOPED]
Coronavirus MUTATES: New concern as virus evolves into striking form [EXPLAINED]
There is no cure for coronavirus at the moment
Preliminary clinical trial results are weeks away.
But a vaccine could take 18 months to develop.
The UK has also confirmed nine cases of people with coronavirus.
The latest was a woman who was transferred to a specialist NHS centre at Guy’s and St Thomas’ in central London.
There are many ways to help prevent getting Coronavirus
Chief medical officer Chris Whitty said the patient had contracted the virus in China.
She also reportedly developed symptoms after landing at Heathrow, called NHS 111 and then tested positive.
Japan on Thursday confirmed its first coronavirus death, Health Minister Katsunobu Kato said.
The victim was a woman in her 80s living in Kanagawa prefecture, which borders on Tokyo, Kato told a news conference.
A vaccine could take 18 months to develop
Health officials in China’s central province of Hubei said 242 people had died from the flu-like virus on Wednesday.
This was the fastest rise in the daily count since the pathogen was identified in December.
World Health Organization (WHO) officials said today that a jump in the number of new cases of coronavirus in China reflects a “broader definition” of a case of infection.
WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said: “It is our current understanding that the new case definition widens the net, and includes not only lab-confirmed cases but also clinically diagnosed cases based on symptoms and exposure.”
He said the Geneva-based United Nations health agency was seeking “further clarity” from China about recent updates to its case definition and reporting protocol for the coronavirus disease outbreak.