A new coronavirus, a cousin of the SARS virus, has infected thousands since the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December. Scientist Leo Poon, who first decoded the virus, thinks it likely started in an animal and spread to humans.
“What we know is it causes pneumonia and then doesn’t respond to antibiotic treatment, which is not surprising, but then in terms of mortality, SARS kills 10% of the individuals,” Poon, a virologist at the School of Public Health at The University of Hong Kong, said.
It’s not clear how deadly the Wuhan coronavirus will be, but fatality rates are currently lower than both MERS and SARS. Experts stress that it will change as the outbreak develops.
What is a coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a large group of viruses that are common among animals. In rare cases, they are what scientists call zoonotic, meaning they can be transmitted from animals to humans, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The first case of a laboratory confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection in Poland was that of a man hospitalised in Zielona Góra, with confirmation announced officially on 4 March 2020.
The local transmission phase of SARS-CoV-2 in Poland was declared to the World Health Organization on 10 March.
As of 20 April 2020, there were 9,593 laboratory confirmed SARS-CoV-2 cases and 380 deaths, and there were 1133 recoveries as of 20 April 2020.
Lockdown-type control measures started on 10–12 March, closing schools and university classes and cancelling mass events, and were strengthened on 25 March, limiting non-family gatherings to two people and religious gatherings to six and forbidding non-essential travel.
The lockdown restrictions were tightened starting on 31 March–1 April by a government regulation, requiring individuals walking in streets to be separated by two metres, closing parks, boulevards, beaches, hairdressers and beauty salons, and forbidding unaccompanied minors from exiting their homes. A followup regulation on 10 April loosened the restrictions on public gatherings starting from 20 April, allowing religious gatherings and funerals to be held for up to a maximum of 50 people.
Lockdown restrictions, although slightly relaxed, still apply.