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Coronavirus: Your questions answered

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

With so many cases around the world and so much information about what to do and what the impacts might be, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. Here are the answers to your most asked questions about coronavirus and it’s impact.

The coronavirus has infected more than 100,000 people worldwide with the World Health Organisation declaring the global outbreak a pandemic.

With so many cases around the world and so much information about what to do and what the impacts might be, it's easy to become overwhelmed.

Here are the answers to your most asked questions about coronavirus and its impact.

Why is coronavirus so bad in Italy?

Italy is one the nations hit worst by the coronavirus outbreak with the number of cases skyrocketing to over 9,000 in less than a month. But how did it get that bad so fast?

The country's outbreak can partly be attributed to the fact there was likely a number of coronavirus cases in the country long before the first official positive test was confirmed.

Venice, Italy

During that time, active cases of COVDI-19 were not receiving the necessary medical care, nor were they put into isolation allowing the virus to spread undetected.

The difficulty with the COVID-19 virus is the initial stages of the illness can look very similar to a flu or even the common cold, meaning anyone who may have been carrying the virus may not have been aware this was the case.

In addition, because the country had not yet experienced an outbreak, people were less likely to come forward to be tested.

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A completely empty San Marco Square in Venice on Monday, after Italy enforced travel restrictions to try to contain the worst outbreak in Europe.

Italy, however, is also reporting an above average mortality rate at four per cent.

The average age of coronavirus patients who have died because of the virus in Italy is 81, according to the National Health Institute.

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Italy, which has one the world's oldest populations, could be facing a higher mortality rate as a result of its above-average elderly population.

How coronavirus cases have spread around the world since January.

When to get tested for coronavirus?

You are considered to be at risk of coronavirus if:

If you have been overseas to the above high risk countries, the government requires you to isolate yourself for 14 days.

If you are feeling unwell or are experiencing the symptoms consistent with COVID-19 including a runny nose, a cough, tightness in the chest, or a fever, and you have been overseas or have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, you should seek medical assistance.

Where to get tested for coronavirus?

There are a number of places you can be tested for COVID-19 if you are experiencing symptoms and think you may be infected.  

The advice from most state and territory governments regarding where to get tested is to first call your GP or emergency department and mention your overseas travel before you arrive at the doctor's office so they can prepare appropriate infection control measures before you arrive.

You can call your state's coronavirus hotline where you can speak to a registered nurse who will ask you a series of questions to determine whether your symptoms are consistent with COVID-19.

Several states have established a number of clinics dedicated for testing. You don't need to call ahead if you attend a screening clinic.

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If you have serious symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, call 000 and ask for an ambulance and tell the operator your recent travel history.

People are seen lining up to get tested for Coronavirus at the Royal Melbourne Hospital  on Tuesday 10 March 2020.

Where did coronavirus come from?

COVID-19 is a specific type of coronavirus that causes severe lung disease and originated in China on December 31, 2019.

Coronaviruses are a large group of viruses that are common among animals and cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

The current outbreak is most likely to have started from people who picked it up from a fresh food market, also known as a 'wet market', in Wuhan, China.

Although it is a new strain among humans, it is likely the virus was being transmitted among different animal species and then transferred to humans at the market.

The virus is spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are released when an infected person coughs, sneezes or exhales.

These droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person and may remain persist for a few hours or even several days.

Other people then catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth.

This is why it is important to wear a face mask, keep your hands clean and stay away from an infected person.

How long will coronavirus epidemic last?

Scientists are still speculating as to how long coronavirus will last.

One answer is until a cure is developed. So far, there is no vaccine or cure for any coronavirus including the current COVID-19 virus and one year is the shortest possible time it will take, with 18 months a more likely target.

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Inside a high-level P3 biosafety security laboratory where coronavirus vaccines are being developed.

It has also been suggested coronavirus could be a seasonal virus and only time will tell if this is the case.

Some experts believe the outbreak will peak in May this year.

Source: 9News

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