What is Coronavirus?: All you need to know as the outbreak spreads to Lagos, Nigeria

  • The deadly novel coronavirus, officially known as Covid-19, has made its way to sub-Saharan Africa.
  • With this confirmed case in Lagos, Nigeria comes a nationwide concern over the infection that started far away in Wuhan, China.
  • Business Insider SSA is answering all your questions below.

As reported earlier, Nigeria has recorded its first confirmed case of the novel coronavirus. This is the first case in sub-Saharan Africa and the second in the rest of the continent.

As of February 28, 2020, more than 83,000 people have been infected and over 2,800 deaths have been recorded.

Here are all the answers to all your questions on the disease outbreak that is rapidly spreading across the world:


This particular outbreak comes from the coronavirus family - viruses that typically affect the respiratory tracts of birds and mammals, including humans.

This explains why many of the first people to be infected either worked or shopped regularly at the seafood wholesale market in Wuhan, China where the virus started from.

The first case of the coronavirus was recorded in birds back in 1937. The first evidence of the coronaviruses in humans came in the 1960s in the noses of people with the common cold.

Researchers say this current outbreak is caused by a new member of the coronavirus family.


The virus comes with cold- or flu-like symptoms that usually set in from 2–4 days after you have been infected.

Symptoms range from sneezing, runny nose, fatigue, cough, sore throat, exacerbated asthma, breathing difficulties and fever in rare cases.

The virus can cause pneumonia, common cold, bronchitis, and even organ failure in severe cases. It is important to know that symptoms vary from person-to-person depending on the strength of the immune system.


The virus is transmitted from humans to humans via fluids in the respiratory system like mucus. It can spread in the following ways:

  • Coughing and sneezing without covering the mouth can disperse droplets into the air.
  • Touching or shaking hands with a person who has the virus can pass the virus between individuals.
  • Making contact with a surface or object that has the virus and then touching the nose, eyes, or mouth.

You should only be worried if you have recently travelled to or from countries affected by coronavirus. These affected areas include China,Thailand, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea, Malaysia, Northern Italy, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar.

If this is the case you need to stay indoors, avoid contact with other people and report yourself to the health authorities.


While there have been 2,000 deaths, scientists say the outbreak only has a mortality rate of around 2% in China, and less than that elsewhere.

It is particularly fatal for young children, pregnant women, people aged 65 years or older, patients with pre-existing conditions, such as high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes.

There is no cure or vaccine yet. For now, the best preventive measure is to wash your hands regularly with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitiser.


It is advisable to always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or handkerchief while coughing or sneezing and maintain basic hygiene around the home.

Make sure you avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness like coughing and sneezing. You should also avoid touching your mouth, nose or eyes.


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