Novel coronavirus, which is believed to have originated from China's Wuhan, has now spread in nearly 30 countries, including India. The outbreak has triggered plenty of rumours on social media about the virus.
To curb misinformation about coronavirus, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has listed out all the myths and facts.
Myth: Coronavirus is spread by pets
Fact: According to WHO, at present there is no evidence that companion animals or pets such as cats and dogs have been infected or have spread 2019-nCoV or novel coronavirus.
Myth: coronavirus is spread from animal meat
Fact: The new coronavirus is a respiratory virus which spreads primarily through contact with an infected person through respiratory droplets generated when a person, for example, coughs or sneezes, or through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose
Myth: Humans become infected with the 2019-nCoV from an animal source
Fact: WHO said that several known coronaviruses are circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans. It is likely that an animal source from a live animal market in China was responsible for some of the infection.
Myth: Having flu or cold means a person has coronavirus
Fact: People infected with coronavirus, the flu, or a cold typically may develop similar symptoms like breathing issue, fever, cough and runny nose. Therefore, opting for a laboratory tests is best to confirm if someone has 2019-nCoV.
In fact, WHO has recommended people who have cough, fever and difficulty breathing should seek medical care early. Such people must give details to the doctors if they had travelled anywhere, or if they were in close contact with someone who had 2019-nCoV symptoms.Also read: Coronavirus scare: Hospitals get cautious and ready
Myth: Unsafe to receive a package from China or any other place where the virus has been identified
Fact: No, this a hoax. People receiving packages are not at risk of contracting the new coronavirus. Such viruses don't survive for too long on objects, such as letters or packages, according to the WHO.
Myth: Antibiotics are effective in preventing and treating the 2019-nCoV
Fact: Antibiotics do not work against viruses, they only work on bacterial infections. The novel coronavirus is a virus and, therefore, antibiotics should not be used as a means of prevention or treatment.
Myth: Coronavirus only affects older people
Fact: Anyone can get be infected by coronavirus, be it children, adults, men and women. However, older people and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as, diabetes and heart disease) appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus.
Myth: There are specific medicines that prevent and treat coronavirus
Fact: To date, there is no specific medicine recommended to prevent or treat the novel coronavirus. However, those infected with 2019-nCoV should receive appropriate care to relieve and treat symptoms, and those with severe illness should receive optimised supportive care.
To protect from getting infected, one should maintain basic hand and respiratory hygiene, and safe food practices and avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.