The new virus known as SARs– CoV-2 is one in a family of coronaviruses. Coronaviruses have been identified since the mid 1960’s and are so called due to their characteristic crown shape.
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003 and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in 2012 were also caused by coronaviruses.
As of 2 April there have been 857,641 confirmed cases of coronavirus, with 42,006 deaths across 206 countries.1
The virus is transmitted by infected droplets to the nose, mouth or eyes and attaches to cell membranes by the protein spikes on its surface. It then hijacks the cell and self-replicates.
Quarantine – why do it?
Quarantine, or isolation is not a new concept and was understood over 600 years ago to be the most effective way to contain and manage disease.
The Adriatic port of Ragusa (modern day Dubrovnik) was the first to pass mandatory legislation on July 27 1377 forbidding sailing vessels from entering their port if arriving from plague infested areas. They were ordered to spend a month in Mrkan or the town of Cavtat for disinfection and screening.2