Coronavirus has been causing panic across the globe, particularly because the death toll has risen above 2,000 worldwide. All but six of the deaths have been in mainland China, where the virus originated. The remaining passengers onboard the Diamond Princess in Japan began disembarking on Wednesday after a 14-day quarantine. A total of 545 cases of coronavirus are linked to the cruise ship.

He said: “Respiratory viruses thrive on close contact, so the spread is easiest in densely packed urban settings, and less likely in the countryside, at least for now.”

People only need to ‘self-isolate’ themselves if they’ve been told by Public Health England (PHE) or the Department for Health and Social Care to do so.

Both health bodies have been tracing people who have been in “close and sustained” contact with individuals confirmed to have the virus.

But if you have travelled to mainland China, Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia or Macau in the last 14 days and you’re experiencing symptoms including a cough, fever or shortness of breath, you shouldn’t go to your GP or hospital and stay at home.

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You should also call NHS 111, even if your symptoms are mild.

In parts of Wales where 111 isn’t available, you should call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47, and in Northern Ireland call your GP.

PHE’s advice when self-isolating is to use “common sense” and avoid close contact with other people as much as possible, as you would the flu.

One of the confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK was a scout leader who contracted the virus in Singapore before flying to the French Alps and then on to the UK.

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“Super spreaders probably have high levels of virus in their bloodstream before developing major symptoms – something beyond their control.

“Careful personal hygiene is the most effective approach: coughing or sneezing into a tissue, and disposing of it safely; avoiding touching others with unwashed hands; frequent hand-washing; staying away from work and social gatherings when sniffly, cold-ridden or unwell; these are all examples of things that can dramatically reduce spread.”

Professor Stephen Turner from Monash University added: “There is no real way to avoid being a super spreader. No one really understands why one person will control the virus and others become super spreaders. This is when someone can infect a number of individuals over a longer period than expected.

“It might have as much to do with the actual virus than the person (i.e it is slightly different and as such can grow to high levels and persist for longer.”



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