FAQs on the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)

FAQs on the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)

1. What is the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)? 

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).

A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people. Named for the crown-like spikes on their surfaces, they infect mostly bats, pigs and small mammals. They mutate easily and can spread from animals to humans, and from one human to another.

2. What do we know about the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) so far?

The outbreak is understood to have originated in December 2019 in Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan, the largest city in central China with a population of 11 million people. It is thought that wild animals are the source of the virus. 

Chinese scientists believe that the virus might have jumped from bats to snakes, which were then sold in the market, and subsequently transmitted to humans. However, some scientists are skeptical of this conclusion. The market has since been shut down and disinfected, which makes it more difficult to identify the source animal.

3. How does the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) spread?

According to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is still unclear how easily or sustainably this virus is spreading between people. It is thought that the virus is likely to be spread via respiratory droplets produced by an infected person. Therefore, the spread can occur from close contact (approximately 2 metres) with an infected person over a period of 30 minutes or more.

4. Can the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) be transmitted by someone with no symptoms (asymptomatic)? 

It seems likely so. On Sunday (26th Jan 2020), Chinese Health Minister Ma Xiaowei said at a press briefing that they had found that people could spread the virus while asymptomatic. Two days later, a Chinese doctor repeated this at a press conference. The most recent case comes from Germany; German researchers described four business associates who became infected through asymptomatic transmission.

5. How long does the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) remain on surfaces such as tables, seats on public transport or gym equipment etc?

According to the US CDC, Coronaviruses generally do not survive long on inanimate surfaces. These viruses typically only survive on a surface for a few hours.

6. How different is this virus to a common case of influenza?

The virus strains are completely different. The Wuhan virus is a coronavirus whereas influenza (the flu) is caused by the influenza virus. There is an annual influenza vaccine available, but there is no vaccine against the Wuhan virus. 

This means that it is more difficult for vulnerable members of the population, such as elderly people or those with existing respiratory or immune problems, to protect themselves. There are antiviral medications eg. tamiflu is available to treat influenza, but there is no specific treatment for the Wuhan virus or pneumonia. Treatment is supportive.

7. What symptoms should we be monitoring for at home, prior to visiting a GP?   

The symptoms are the same as that of normal pneumonia.

  • Fever
  • Runny nose
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Breathlessness

8. How to protect yourself against the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)?

  • Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water;
  • When coughing and sneezing cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue – throw tissue away immediately and wash hands;
  • Avoid close contact with anyone who has fever and cough;
  • If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing seek medical care early and share previous travel history with your healthcare provider;
  • When visiting live markets in areas currently experiencing cases of novel coronavirus, avoid direct unprotected contact with live animals and surfaces in contact with animals;
  • The consumption of raw or undercooked animal products should be avoided. Raw meat, milk or animal organs should be handled with care, to avoid cross-contamination with uncooked foods, as per good food safety practices;
  • Wear a surgical mask if you have flu-like respiratory symptoms (you may wear the surgical mask even without any display of symptoms to protect yourself);
  • It is advised that surgical masks will suffice and there is no need to use N95 masks;
  • If you choose to wear a face mask, ensure the mask covers both your mouth and nose.

9. Are there any substitutes for hand sanitisers given that many places are sold out?

According to the US CDC, washing your hands with plain soap and water is the best way to maintain hygiene and prevent the spread of infections. If you wish to use hand sanitiser, you should use alcohol-based hand sanitisers, not just any regular ones. Alternatives would be alcohol (eg. isopropyl 70% or ethyl alcohol 70%) or bleach to disinfect surfaces.

10. Is it safe to travel to China? Is there anything we can do to protect ourselves when travelling?

Avoid non-essential travel, especially to China. Otherwise, the protective measures are exactly the same as mentioned above.

Find a doctor | Make an appointment

Join our forum for more information and updates on the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) (Wuhan Virus).

Click Here

Join the Discussion

武汉病毒知多少?- 新型冠状病毒

[See English Version of What You Need to Know About WuHan Virus]











1. 有发烧、咳嗽、上呼吸道症状或者呼吸困难的症状

2. 在过去14天内有去过中国大陆

3.  在发病前的14天内曾去过中国大陆的医院

4. 曾与武汉病毒的确诊者或者疑似病例有过密切接触





1. 若有类似流感的呼吸道症状,应该戴上口罩

2. 即使没有任何症状,也可以在去公共场所和需要与人接触时时戴外科口罩

3. 使用外科口罩即可,无需使用N95口罩

4. 采取与预防流感相同的保护措施:勤用肥皂洗手,咳嗽或打喷嚏时用手或者纸巾捂住嘴,且远离病人

5. 感到身体不适时及时就医







[See English Version of What You Need to Know About WuHan Virus]

What You Need to Know about Wuhan virus – 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV)

By now, we have all heard about the outbreak of a new virus in China that has infected more than 600 people and claimed at least 17 lives, while spreading to other countries around the world. As of today (24th Jan), Singapore has three confirmed cases of the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), also known as the Wuhan virus. Other countries which have confirmed cases include Japan, Korea, Thailand, the United States, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam. Disease modeling experts from Imperial College, London suggest that case numbers reported by China are conservative, issuing a report on Wednesday (22nd Jan) stating that 4000 people could currently be infected.

Its emergence on our shores has fueled fears of a deadly epidemic reminiscent of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003, H1N1 influenza in 2009, and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in 2012. 

Here’s what you need to know about WuHan Virus:

What is the WuHan Virus and how did it happen?

The Wuhan virus belongs to a family of viruses known as coronavirus, which include SARS and MERS. These viruses, named for the crown-like spikes on their surfaces, infect mostly bats, pigs and small mammals. But they mutate easily and can spread from animals to humans, and from one human to another.

The outbreak is understood to have originated in December in Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan, the largest city in central China with a population of 11 million people. It is thought that wild animals are the source of the virus. Chinese scientists believe that the virus might have jumped from bats to snakes, which were then sold in the market, and subsequently transmitted to humans. 

How is the WuHan Virus spread?

The WuHan virus is believed to spread much like the common flu does – by droplet and contact, for example coughing, kissing or saliva contact. For now, virologists say that the Wuhan virus is likely not as infectious as the SARS virus, with a current reported 2% death rate. But there are concerns that the virus could further mutate to become more lethal.

What are the symptoms and when do you suspect that you have it?

Seek medical help or go to A&E immediately if:

  1. You have fever OR cough OR upper respiratory symptoms OR breathlessness, and
  2. You have travelled from mainland China within the past 14 days, or
  3. You have visited a hospital in mainland China 14 days before onset of illness, or
  4. You have had close contact with a confirmed or suspected case of Wuhan virus

Are there drugs or vaccines to treat or prevent Wuhan virus?

There is no vaccine to protect against coronaviruses. There is also no specific treatment to cure illnesses caused by coronaviruses. Patients receive supportive treatment at hospitals and generally recover on their own after some time. 

You should consider getting a flu vaccine if you are travelling to places where there are confirmed or suspected cases to prevent you from contracting influenza symptoms that may mislead screening authorities at temperature checkpoints.

What can I do to protect myself against the WuHan Virus?

  1. Wear a surgical mask if you have flu-like respiratory symptoms 
  2. Even if you have no symptoms, you can wear a surgical mask if you are going to be going out in public and having person-to-person contact
  3. It is advised that surgical masks will suffice and there is no need to use N95 masks
  4. Take the same protective measures you would take against the flu: wash your hands frequently with soap, cover your mouth with tissue paper or your hands when coughing or sneezing, and stay away from people who are sick
  5. See a doctor if you feel unwell

Should I cancel my trip to China?

According to the latest travel advisory issued on Thursday (23rd Jan) by the Ministry of Health (MOH), Singaporeans should avoid travelling to Wuhan. China has imposed a travel halt in Wuhan as all flights out of the city have been cancelled and trains, buses and ferries suspended.

MOH reminds the public to continue to exercise caution and pay close attention to personal hygiene when travelling to the rest of China. MOH advises that all travellers should monitor their health closely for two weeks upon return to Singapore and seek medical attention promptly if they feel unwell, and also inform their doctor of their travel history.


According to the World Health Organization, the Wuhan coronavirus is an emergency in China but is not yet a public health emergency of global concern. However, as the situation is rapidly evolving, all of us should continue to stay abreast with the latest updates and news reports. 

Stay safe!
[This article is written on 23rd January 2020]

武汉病毒知多少?- 新型冠状病毒
中文版: https://www.dtapclinic.com/articles/武汉病毒知多少?-新型冠状病毒/

Monkeypox – What You Need to Know

What is Monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a rare virus that is typically transmitted from animals to humans. Documented human infections occurred mostly in areas of Central and West Africa near rainforests. Human cases outside of Africa are extremely rare.
The Monkeypox virus is very similar to the human smallpox virus but causes less severe symptoms.

What are the Symptoms of Monkeypox?

The symptoms of Monkeypox usually begin 6-14 days (ranges between 5 up to 21 days) after infection by the virus.
Initial symptoms (first 5 days) include fever, headaches, muscle aches (myalgia), fatigue and swollen lymph nodes.

Within 1-3 days

Within 1-3 days of the onset of fever, a skin rash develops, usually starting from the face then spreading to the body.

Next 1.5 weeks or so

Over the course of the next 1.5 weeks or so, the rash develops from flat reddish bumps (maculopapular) to fluid filled tiny blisters (vesicles) which enlarge to become pustular, before eventually crusting and healing.
The rash can involve the palms and soles of the feet, oral mucosa and the eyes as well.
The total illness duration ranges between 2-3 weeks.

Image from CDC Public Health Image Library

Image from CDC Public Health Image Library

Is the Infection Serious?

Monkeypox is generally a self-limiting illness and symptoms fully resolve by themselves by 21 days.  Treatment for monkeypox is supportive until the illness runs its course.
However, serious complications such as pneumonia (lung infection) and encephalitis (brain inflammation) can occur.
The severity of symptoms may differ between patients and more serious illnesses have been seen in younger patients, with a mortality rate between 1-10%.

How is it spread?

Monkeypox is transmitted from animals to humans through bites, scratches, consumption of bushmeat, or through direct contact with the blood/fluid/bodies of infected animals.
Human-to-human transmission is possible through respiratory droplets or physical contact with body fluids/rash, or contaminated surfaces or materials.
The virus enters the body through the respiratory tract, mucous membranes, and broken skin.
Infected individuals are contagious from the onset of fever until their skin lesions have crusted over completely.

What is the Situation in Singapore?

On 8 May 2019, MOH confirmed the first case of imported Monkeypox infection in Singapore. The patient is a 38-year-old Nigerian male who may have contracted the virus in Nigeria through the consumption of bushmeat.
He arrived in Singapore on 28 April 2019 and subsequently developed a fever and rash on 30 April. He was hospitalised on 7 May and confirmed to have the infection and currently warded at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID). His condition is stable.
MOH is in the midst of contact tracing. Close contacts have been referred to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) for further assessment and will be quarantined for 21 days. Low-risk contacts will be kept under surveillance to monitor their health status.

When Should I be Concerned about Monkeypox?

If you develop a fever and vesicular rash AND have travelled to West or Central Africa within the last 21 days OR have been in contact with an infected person within the last 21 days, there is a high suspicion of monkeypox and you should see a doctor immediately.
Otherwise, there is no need for unnecessary panic as all necessary steps to control the situation are already being taken.


• Maintain a high standard of personal hygiene, including frequent hand washing after going to the toilet, or when hands are soiled.
• Avoid direct contact with skin lesions of infected living or dead persons or animals, as well as objects that may have become contaminated with infectious fluids, such as soiled clothing or linens (e.g. bedding or towels) used by an infected person.
• Avoid contact with wild animals, and consumption of bushmeat.
• Returning travellers from areas affected by monkeypox should seek immediate medical attention if they develop any disease symptoms (e.g. sudden onset of high fever, swollen lymph nodes and rash) within three weeks of their return. They should inform their doctor of their recent travel history

Take Care!

Other Reads:

  1. What is Office Syndrome – Causes, Symptoms & Treatment
  2. What are the signs & symptoms of Nose Cancer
  3. Mycoplasma Genitalium (MG) – STD Screening, Testing & Treatment
  4. Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome Or Prostatitis
  5. 5 Ways to Fight Depression
  6. 8 Ways on How to Cope with Anxiety 
  7. 7 Common Causes of Knee Pain
  8. De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis – Causes, Symptoms Treatment 
  9. Plantar Fasciitis – Causes Symptom Treatment
  10. Shoulder Pain – Cause, Symptoms & Treatment 
  11. Trigger Finger – Cause, Symptoms & Treatment
  12. Tennis Elbow & Golfer’s Elbow – What You Need to Know 
  13. STD Symptoms in Women