2019–20 Wuhan coronavirus outbreak

2019–20 Wuhan coronavirus outbreak
Animated map of confirmed COVID-19 cases from 12 January 2020 to 16 February 2020.
Disease2019-nCoV acute respiratory disease (COVID-19)
Virus strainSARS-CoV-2
First case1 December 2019[1][2]
OriginWuhan, Hubei, China[3]
Confirmed cases71,449[4]

An ongoing outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by SARS-CoV-2 started in December 2019. It was first identified in Wuhan, capital of Hubei province in China, after 41 people presented with pneumonia of no clear cause.[5][6][7] The disease can spread between people.[8][9][10][11] Time from exposure to onset of symptoms is generally between 2 and 14 days,[12] during which time it may be contagious.[13] Symptoms may include fever, coughing, shortness of breath, pain in the muscles and fatigue.[8] Complications may include pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome. There are no vaccines nor specific antiviral treatments, with efforts typically confined to management of symptoms and supportive measures.[14] Hand washing is recommended to prevent the spread of the disease.[15]

As of 17 February 2020, 71,449 cases have been confirmed, including in all provinces of China and more than two dozen other countries[16]. Of these, 11,298 cases are serious.[17] Various experts have speculated on the possible number of persons that may be infected, which they believe might be larger than the number of confirmed cases.[18][19] The disease has resulted in 1,775 deaths, of which five have occurred outside mainland China.[4] This surpasses the deaths from the 2003 SARS outbreak.[4]

The outbreak has been declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) by the World Health Organization (WHO).[20][21] Health authorities have been working to contain the spread of the disease since its discovery.[22][23][24][25] China has introduced travel restrictions, quarantines, and outdoor restrictions – requiring families to stay at home – affecting over 170 million people.[22][23][24][25] A number of countries have issued warnings against travel to Wuhan, Hubei, or China generally.[26][27] Travellers who have visited Mainland China have been asked to monitor their health for at least two weeks.[28] Anyone who suspects that they are carrying the virus is advised to wear a protective mask and seek medical advice by calling a doctor rather than directly visiting a clinic in person.[29] Airports and train stations have implemented body temperature checks, health declarations and information signage in an attempt to identify carriers of the virus.[30]

Misinformation has spread about the coronavirus, primarily online, which the WHO described as an "infodemic" on 2 February 2020. The epidemic has led to further consequences beyond quarantine measures and its impact on health, including concerns over potential economic instability and cancellation of several events expected to be attended by people travelling from areas with high risk of contagion.[31] Reports of xenophobia and racism against people of Chinese and East Asian descent have arisen as a result of the outbreak, with fear and hostility occurring in several countries.[32][33][34][35] A number of political events have been influenced by the outbreak including the firing of many important leaders of the Chinese Communist Party.[36]


Wuhan is the capital of Hubei and is the seventh-largest city in China, with a population of more than 11 million people. It has been a major transport hub of the country for centuries and known as "Nine Provinces' Thoroughfare" (九省通衢) since at least the 17th century,[37] and the Wuhan Railway Hub is one of the four most important railway hubs in China.[38] It is approximately 1,050 km (650 mi) south of Beijing,[39] 700 km (430 mi) west of Shanghai, and 900 km (560 mi) north of Hong Kong.[40] Direct international flights from Wuhan connect it to major cities in Europe and North America.[41]

In Wuhan, during December 2019, a cluster of cases displaying the symptoms of a "pneumonia of unknown cause" was linked to Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, which had a thousand stalls selling fish, chickens, pheasants, bats, marmots, venomous snakes, spotted deer, and other wild animals (ye wei, bushmeat).[42] In January 2020, the hypothesis was that this was a novel coronavirus from an animal source (a zoonosis).[43][44][45][46] In February 2020, the Chinese authorities have confirmed a highly pathogenic strain of the H5N1 bird flu in chickens in the Hunan province.[47]

Coronaviruses mainly circulate among other animals but have been known to evolve and cause coronavirus outbreaks in humans as in the cases of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) together with four further coronaviruses that cause mild respiratory symptoms similar to the common cold. SARS-CoV-2's nucleic acid sequence is 75- to 80-percent identical to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV), and more than 85-percent similar to several bat coronaviruses.[48][49] All coronaviruses known to infect humans have been shown to spread between people.[50][51] Transmission of coronaviruses is primarily thought to occur among close contacts via respiratory droplets generated by sneezing and coughing.[52]

Other Languages
български: Коронавирус 2019-20
português: Surto de COVID-19