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Coronavirus Outbreak: What You Need to Know

Hundreds of cases of the coronavirus have been reported and the World Health Organization (WHO) is considering the outbreak "a high risk, regionally and globally." The coronavirus can cause a range of illnesses from the common cold to severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

The outbreak originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan and while most reported cases so far have been in China, others have been reported in Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, and the US.

Symptoms of coronavirus

The main symptoms of coronavirus are similar to that of a bad cold or the flu. They include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

More severe cases can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death. The incubation period is around two weeks.

Precautionary measures

  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water and use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser if soap and water are not available
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Avoid close contact with sick people
  • Avoid visiting crowded places
  • Consider using a face mask
  • If you need to travel take precautions to avoid illness along the way

What to do if you think you have the coronavirus

  • If you show any symptoms, especially after having travelled to an affected area, or if you have close physical contact with any individual who has travelled to the affected area, please seek medical attention immediately and mention your recent travels to your doctor
  • Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze or consider using a face mask
  • Avoid public or crowded places if at all possible, or remain at home

If you have any questions please contact your Mercer Marsh Benefits Client Executive.