Coronavirus explained: All your questions about COVID-19 answered


The COVID-19 outbreakhas reached every continent on Earth besides Antarctica. The respiratory disease, caused by a never-before-seen coronavirus, has upended life across the globe, shutting down entire cities and countries in a matter of months. The economy has come to a screeching halt. The epicenter — Wuhan, China — experienced the worst of the initial outbreak but appears to be getting things under control whereas huge, secondary outbreaks have appeared in Europe and the US.

The WHO was first alerted to the disease on New Year’s Eve, and in the following weeks researchers linked it to a family of viruses known as coronaviruses, the same family responsible for the diseases SARS and MERS, as well as some cases of the common cold. On March 11, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general, announced the outbreak would be declared a pandemic, the first time a coronavirus has caused such a spread.