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Coronavirus Explained: What is coronavirus? - BBC News

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Coronavirus Explained: Lucy Hockings finds out what Covid-19 is, how it spreads and answers your questions about what action you should take at home, work and when travelling, in a BBC News Special.


Coronavirus is a respiratory disease which seems to start with a fever, followed by a dry cough. After a week, it leads to shortness of breath and some patients require hospital treatment.

These symptoms do not necessarily mean you have the illness. They are similar to those for much more common viruses, such as colds and flu.

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In more severe cases, coronavirus can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, multiple organ failure and even death.

Older people, and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease), are more likely to become severely ill.

The incubation period - between infection and showing any symptoms - lasts up to 14 days, the World Health Organization (WHO) says. But some researchers say it may be up to 24 days.

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