Coronavirus update: Information about the outbreak of COVID-19 and how you can protect yourself

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared the new strain of coronavirus, named COVID-19, a global public health emergency.

The number of confirmed cases of the flu-like infection as of Wednesday had passed 75,000, and more than 2,000 people had died, surpassing the death toll from the 2003-2003 SARS outbreak.

Here’s a rundown of everything you need to know about coronavirus, and how you can make sure you’re protected


How many people have died?

The death toll worldwide stands at 2,011 as of Wednesday morning with all but five of them in China, according to the WHO and Centre for Disease Control data collated by Johns Hopkins University.

Hubei province at the epicentre of the outbreak has reported 1,921 of those.

Earlier this month, the Philippines recorded the first death related to coronavirus outside ChinaJapan, France, and Taiwan have since confirmed fatalities. Hong Kong has confirmed two deaths, making it the first place outside mainland China with multiple fatalities.

The reported death rate — the percentage of people diagnosed who end up dying from it — is currently estimated at 2.5 per cent, according to the Australian Department of Health.

That’s less than SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome).

The WHO said 8,000 people became ill with SARS and of those, 774 people died — a rate of 9.6 per cent.


How many are infected?

The infection rate continues to climb, with the total number of infections worldwide on Wednesday sitting at 75,199, according to Johns Hopkins.

More than 74,000 of those cases are in mainland China.

Australia’s first case was diagnosed on January 25. Now, 15 people in Australia have been diagnosed with the virus — four in NSW, four in Victoria, five in Queensland, and two in South Australia.

Eight of the Australian patients have recovered and been released, while the others are in a stable condition and being kept in isolation.

The Australian Department of Health confirmed all of the infected people in Australia had been to Wuhan, except for one patient in NSW who had contact in China with a confirmed case from Wuhan.

Two more Australians in China are confirmed to have been infected.

At least 26 Australians are among 454 people to test positive for the virus on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship moored off the Japanese port of Yokohama.


How many countries has it reached?

Twenty-five countries are affected worldwide so far, according to the WHO.

China is by far the country with the most confirmed cases.

Singapore is second, with 81 cases.

How does it spread?

Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread most often by what are known as “respiratory droplets” from an infected person — the little secretions we generate when we sneeze or cough.

That’s why the spread of the virus between people has generally occurred through close contact.

There has been no human-to-human transmission of the new coronavirus in Australia so far, with all of the people infected in Australia having recently been in China.