Novel Coronavirus

    FIRS has issued a statement urging governments around the world to continue supporting the World Health Organisation. Read the statement here


    The World Health Organization (WHO) describe coronaviruses as a large family of viruses that can cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases like Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new strain that has not been identified in humans before.

    Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people. Detailed investigations found that SARS-CoV was transmitted from civet cats to humans and MERS-CoV from dromedary camels to humans. Several known coronaviruses are circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans.

    What are the symptoms?

    • Mild symptoms are cold-like in presentation-- including fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
    • Older adults and people with underlying health conditions may be at increased risk for severe disease. In these more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and even death.

    How can coronavirus be prevented?

    There are currently no vaccines for COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the following everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
    • Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Stay home when you are sick.
    • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

    WHO also recommends avoiding close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness, such as coughing and sneezing, and thoroughly cooking eggs and meat.

    Resources from FIRS Societies

    Our international respiratory societies have produced some excellent COVID-19 materials, view the latest updates this week or click to view all resources by society:

    Links to all COVID-19 Resources

    Keep updated with the very latest information from:

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