WHO advises public on novel coronavirus

A member of a military medical team treats a patient diagnosed with novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) pneumonia in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province, Jan. 29, 2020. (Photo by Xie Huahong/Xinhua)
  • Xinhua
  • February 3, 2020 9:22 AM

BEIJING -- The World Health Organization (WHO) released information and advice recently to the public regarding the novel coronavirus epidemic, which has struck China, particularly its central Hubei Province.

"Antibiotics do not work against viruses, only bacteria," the WHO said on its official website, noting that as the novel coronavirus is a virus, antibiotics are not effective in preventing or treating it.

However, if a patient is hospitalized for the virus, he may receive antibiotics since "bacterial co-infection is possible," the organization added.

Up to now, there is no specific medicine for preventing or treating the virus, but some particular cures are being studied and will be tested in clinical trials, the WHO said, adding that it is working with partners to help accelerate related research and development work.

"People of all ages" can be infected with the novel coronavirus, and elder people and people with pre-existing medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes and heart disease are more susceptible, the WHO said.

With regard to whether companion animals like dogs or cats can be infected with the virus, the WHO said, there is no evidence on it yet.

But the organization advised people to wash hands with soap and water after contacting pets, which can help protect them against "various common bacteria such as E.coli and Salmonella that can pass between pets and humans."

Chinese health authorities said on Monday that it received reports of 2,829 new confirmed cases of novel coronavirus infection and 57 deaths on Sunday from 31 provincial-level regions and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps.

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