It is not possible to distinguish clearly between symptoms of the common cold, influenza and the 2019-nCoV.
In an article published in the Lancet, it was reported that there were three major patterns of the clinical course of infection:
Mild gradual illness with upper respiratory tract presenting symptoms;
Severe pneumonia with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) that begins with mild symptoms for 7 to 8 days and then progresses to rapid deterioration and ARDS requiring advanced life support
It causes a mild and self-limiting disease in most people (80%) who are infected, with severe disease more likely among older people or those with coexisting diseases, such as diabetes, pulmonary disease, and other chronic conditions. The fatality rate stands around 2.6 per cent.
Mode of Transmission and Infectiousness
Preliminary studies suggest that incubation period for the 2019-nCoV can range from two to 14 days. Mean incubation period observed in a study: 5.2 days.
Like other human coronaviruses, transmission of the 2019-nCoV occurs through droplets and can happen through:
i. Coughing and sneezing
ii. Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
iii. Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands
The role of faecal–oral transmission is yet to be determined in COVID-19.
Medical care of viral pneumonia is largely supportive using medication and to help relieve symptoms and address seven complications such as bacterial infections. There are no licensed vaccines or coronavirus antivirals.
On 2 February, doctors in Thailand reported positive outcomes in treating patients with a mixture of the HIV drugs, Lopinavir and Ritonavir, in combination with a flu drug Oseltamivir in large doses, noting that the treatment had improved the condition of several patients under their care. A few coronavirus patients in Singapore were treated with a combination of lopinavir and ritonavir as well.
Meanwhile, scientists from the United States to Australia, led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) established in 2017, are using new technology in an ambitious, multi-million-dollar drive to develop a vaccine in record time to tackle China's coronavirus outbreak.
Updates on Definition of suspected case of 2019nCoV
The MOH definition of a suspect case of the 2019-nCoV infection was further expanded on 4 February to be:
a) A person with clinical signs and symptoms suggestive of pneumonia or severe respiratory infection with breathlessness AND travel to mainland China within 14 days before onset of illness; OR
b) A person with an acute respiratory illness of any degree of severity who, within 14 days before onset of illness had:
Been to Hubei Province (including Wuhan city) or Zhejiang Province (including Hangzhou city), China; OR
Been to a hospital in mainland China; OR
Had close contact with a case of 2019 novel coronavirus infection; OR
Had frequent or close contact during work* with recent travellers from mainland China (travel history in the last 14 days).
(*Persons who attended business meetings / discussions, frontline staff in hospitality and tourism (e.g. hotels, shops, tours) with regular dealings with travellers from mainland China.)
What’s Happening in China
China continued to report escalating numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases to 72500 with death toll rising to 1868.
According to the WHO, the majority of the novel coronavirus cases in China were considered "mild". A breakdown of cases provided by Chinese authorities found that 82 per cent of the cases were mild, 15 per cent severe and 3 per cent critical.