New Delhi: In the wake of the massive outbreak of coronavirus, the health ministry has set up a round-the-clock helpline number for answering all questions related to the virus. On Wednesday, the death toll in China rose to 131.

What is 2019 Novel Coronavirus?

It is a new virus identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. It is named novel as it has not been previously found.

Sources: At present, the exact source of the infection of 2019 novel coronavirus has not been identified. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing illness in people and others that circulate among animals. Initially, many of the patients in the outbreak in Wuhan, China reportedly had some link to large seafood and animal market, suggesting the virus likely emerged from an animal source.

Symptoms: Acute onset of fever, cough and difficulty in breathing

Has anyone got in India? No

How does it spread? Not clear since it is a novel virus. This virus probably originally emerged from an animal source but now seems to be spreading from person to person. It’s not clear yet how easily 2019-nCoV spreads from person to person. It is thought to have happened mainly when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how influenza and other respiratory pathogens spread.

What is Government of India doing? A 24X7 helpline has been set up by the government at NCDC. The GoI is closely monitoring the situation and has ascertained the level of preparedness in every state of India. As this is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation, the GoI will continue to provide updated information as it becomes available

91-22-23978046 is the helpline number.

Is there a vaccine? No

How can I help protect myself?

1. All non-essential travel to China to be avoided
2. Observe good personal hygiene
3. Practice frequent handwashing with soap
4. Cover your mouth while sneezing

What should I do if I had close contact with someone with a confirmed case?

Self-monitor your health for 28 days. Look out for symptoms like fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing.