Recently, we heard about a virus called ” Novel Coronavirus“.  Everybody talking about this virus. So, we write about this article to understand better about Novel Coronavirus.

What is a Coronaviruses?

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. They are typically spread through airborne droplets of fluid produced by infected individuals in humans. At the end of 2019, a new type of coronavirus emerged that help to make people sick in China. Now, New Coronavirus named as “COVID-19”  by WHO. On March 12, 2020, WHO declared COVID-19 outbreak became “global pandemic“.

At the end of 2019, a new type of coronavirus began making people sick in China. You might hear the virus called COVID-19. Some of the first cases were diagnosed in people who had visited a market selling live seafood and animals.

According to WHO,

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.

It was discovered and detail described in the 1960s, the coronavirus gets name from a distinctive corona or crown-like shape from the envelope surrounding the particle. Encoding the virus’s make-up is the longest genome of any RNA-based virus – a single strand of nucleic acid roughly 26,000 to 32,000 bases long.

Coronaviruses COVID-19
This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Note the spikes that adorn the outer surface of the virus, which impart the look of a corona surrounding the virion, when viewed electron microscopically. Images from Wikipedia.

Coronaviruses are zoonotic meaning they are transmitted between animals and human. Previous coronavirus like SARS-CoV was transmitted from civet cats to humans and MERS-CoV from dromedary camels to human. Several known coronaviruses are circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans. Now recently spread coronavirus (COVID-19), scientists believe to virus spread through live animal markets from Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.

New covid strain first identified in early December 2020, in the U.K. spreads more easily and quickly than other strains, which is 70% more transmissible than the original. A new covid variant is known as VUI-202012/01 (B.1.1.7). On January 18, Ministry of Health and Population announced new variant of coronavirus also detected in Nepal in 3 peoples, those peoples return from UK three weeks ago.

How dangerous is the new coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) which is emerged from Wuhan, China in December. Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is transmitted more rapidly to humans compared to SARS, though it is less virulent. Scientists believe, one infected individual can be transmitted on average of 2 to 3 people.

Currently, COVID-19 infected more than 200 million people confirmed cases, more than 180 million recovery cases, death cases more than 4,200,000 and increasing rapidly day by day. It infected more than 200 countries around the world. WHO confirmed the virus’ fatality rate is around 3.4%, but health experts predict it could ultimately be lower as more cases are reported. Most of those who have died were older age peoples or had other ailments that comprised their immune system much more vulnerable than the young. About 80% of patients have experienced mild symptoms, according to new report from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention that looked at 72,314 cases. It’s the largest analysis released so far. If we compared SARS and MERS with COVID-19, SARS fatality rate is 10% and MERS fatality rate is 33%. For comparison, seasonal flu has a mortality rate below 0.1 per cent but it infects so many people that it results in about 400,000 deaths a year worldwide. Spanish flu infected an estimated 500m people and killed 50m worldwide in 1918-19.

How does the virus spread and what is the incubation period? 

The virus spread through airborne droplets of fluid produced by infected individuals to other humans. The “incubation period” means the time between catching the virus and beginning to have symptoms of the disease. Most estimates of the incubation period for COVID-19 range from 2-14 days, most commonly around five days but some of the study show upto 28 days.

Symptoms of Novel Corona Virus (COVID-19)

  • Fever
  • Tiredness
  • Dry cough
  • Headaches and pains (some patients)
  • Nasal congestion
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat or diarrhoea (rare)

Prevention from COVID-19

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

  • Wash your hands frequently with an alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Maintain social distancing / Avoid close contact
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
  • Cover nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing with a tissue or flexed elbow
  • If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early
  • Avoid direct, unprotected contact with live animals and surfaces in contact with animals
  • Avoid eating raw or undercooked animal products and exercise care when handling raw meat, milk or animal organs to avoid cross-contamination with uncooked foods.

Coronavirus Explained by Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell (Must Watch)

Timetable of Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Timeline of coronavirus (COVID-19)
Timeline of coronavirus (COVID-19) by Al Jazeera

Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Nepal [Updated]

Nepal confirmed its first and only case on 24 January 2020. The patient had only presented mild symptoms and had been discharged a week earlier with instructions to self-quarantine at home which is recovered from this virus. Nepal Government tested more than 3495069 PCR methods on suspected individuals, but 672871 have coronavirus positive and 9637 death cases. Ministry of Health and population reported on June 28; coronavirus has spread to all 77 districts of Nepal.

The government has taken various precautions to prevent the spread of disease in Nepal. It evacuated Nepali students from Hubei in February and quarantined them in Bhaktapur, all of whom tested negative.

On 23rd March 2020, The Ministry of Health and Population has confirmed that one person who travelled to Nepal from France has tested positive for coronavirus. With this, two cases of the new coronavirus have been confirmed in Nepal.

Currently (21 July 2021), Nepal detected 672871 confirmed case of novel coronavirus, 636402 recovered (which is 93% of total confirmed cases) and 9637 death from it.

On Tuesday (18 May ), the Ministry of Health and Population confirmed it had detected a third COVID variant in the country, B.1.617.2, a variant first detected in India which is considered highly contagious. The new variant was detected in 97 percent of the samples collected from 35 districts in the country. The other two variants are B.1.617.1 and B.1.1.7.

mohp notice of new variant of covid
New variants Covid19 confirm in Nepal. A statement published by MoHP

As part of the gradual opening up after a six-month Covid19 lockdown, Nepal Government decided to allow domestic flight, long-distance buses, hotels and restaurant to reopen from 21 September. Nepal Government announced to allow trekking and mountaineering tourist groups from 17 October.

Coronavirus Vaccine

Russia approves using the coronavirus vaccine which is  “Sputnik V” named after the world’s first satellite launch by USSR. It is registered on 11 August 2020 by the Russian Ministry of Health. Sputnik V vaccine developed by Gamaleya Research Institute in coordination with the Russian defence ministry. It is based on a proven vaccine against adenovirus – the common cold. Several countries doubt this vaccine because it has not yet completed its phase-three trial, which involves wide-scale testing with thousands of participants. But recently Lancet Medical Journal published that the vaccine produced an antibody response in all participants and no serious side effects. The study was conducted in June-July and involved 76 people. After a third phase trial of Sputnik V vaccine shows a good result (protection) against Covid-19. According to the Lancet Medical Journal, Sputnik V efficacy rate is 91.6%.

On January 15, Nepal’s drug regulator (Department of Drug Administration) granted emergency use approval to a Covid-19 vaccine i.e. “CoviShield” developed by the University of Oxford and pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca and manufactured by Serum Institute of India, world’s largest vaccine manufacturing company.
Covishield vaccine overall efficacy was 70.42%, which is well below vaccines from Pfizer (95%) and Moderna (94.1%).

On January 21, India government provide 1 millions doses of Covid-19 vaccine (CoviShield) to Nepal. Nepal Government is planning to inoculate 20 per cent (or 6 million) of its population in the first phase to immunise people above the age of 60 in addition to frontline health workers, for which the country will need at least 12 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine.

On January 27, Nepal begins first phases of Covid-19 vaccines drive to the frontline workers, i.e. doctor, nurse, police and army. 

On February 17, the Department of Drug Administration, the national drug regulatory authority, has granted emergency use approval to a Covid-19 vaccine developed by the Beijing Institute of Biological Products Co Ltd (BIBP) in China under Sinopharm. China has decided to provide 800,000 doses of BBIBP-CorV vaccine, developed by Sinopharm, under grant assistance.

On March 19, Nepal’s national drug regulatory (Department of Drug Administration) has granted emergency use approval to COVAXIN developed by Bharat Biotech. COVAXIN is India’s homegrown government-backed vaccine. It has an efficacy rate of 81 per cent, preliminary data from its phase 3 trial shows, according to the BBC.

On April 20, Nepal’s national drug regulatory authority (Department of Drug Administration) has granted emergency use approval to Sputnik V, a viral vector vaccine for Covid-19 developed by Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology of Russia. It is 4th vaccine approved by Nepal.

On June 4, Nepal’s Department of Drug Administration has granted emergency use approval to Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine developed by Sinovac Life Sciences Co Ltd. of China. It is 5th vaccine approved by Nepal as emergency use.

Across the world, more than 200 vaccine candidates are being developed and trialled, with at least 24 in the human clinical trial phase, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

On 13th March 2020, Government of Nepal has decided to cancel visa-on-arrival for all foreign nationals which will be in effect from 14th March 2020 to 30th April 2020.

From June 17, Department of Immigration Nepal resumes the visa service.

immigration notice
Immigration notice

On 18th March 2020, Nepal Government decision to restriction flight arrival in Nepal. According to the Nepal Department of Immigration, from March 20, 2020 at midnight local time until April 12, 2020, “all passengers coming through direct flights, having a transit at, and taking the first flight of their origin in Europe, West-Asia, and all the Gulf Countries, Turkey, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan are subjected to Arrival Restrictions in Nepal. Again Nepal government suspend all national and international flight until August 31.

Nepal Government restriction arrival flight notice
Nepal Government restriction arrival flight notice

On 23rd March 2020, Nepal Government decides to lockdown whole country from tomorrow (March 24) for a week, amid concerns over the spread of COVID-19. From that, Nepal Government extends lockdown period till June 2. This is the 8th times extend lockdown period by Nepal Government.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) live tracking dashboard by Johns Hopkins University

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