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On 31 December 2019, the World Health Organisation (WHO) China Country Office was informed of cases of pneumonia of unknown cause in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China. A novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) was identified as the causative virus by Chinese authorities on 7 January 2020.

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. 

Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.

Public Health England is working with WHO and its international partners, has issued advice to the NHS and is keeping the situation under constant review.

For more information and guidance please visit:

Public Health England
World Health Organisation
Foreign and Commonwealth office

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