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Coronavirus is a family of viruses that commonly afflict humans and animals. These include the common cold and seasonal flu viruses. The current outbreak is known as a ‘novel’ Coronavirus because it seems to be a new kind not previously see before in humans (hence the ‘novel’ part of its name).


Symptoms of the novel Coronavirus can range from runny nose, cough, body aches and fever (similar to a common cold) to shortness of breath and, in very severe cases, death. Research is still ongoing at present into how often the milder form of the illness progresses into the more severe form causing pneumonia.

Current understanding is that symptoms seem to take 2 – 14 days to develop. For this reason anyone who has travelled directly from the affected area of Hubei province in China is being asked to isolate themselves for 14 days to ensure they do not become symptomatic.

The mortality rate for the novel Coronavirus is thought to be around 2% at most (and could be lower given less serious cases may be under-reported). This is much higher than seasonal flu, which is around 0.1%, but far les than SARS (10%) or MERS (35%).

As with many respiratory illnesses (such as flu), serious illness or death has so far been restricted to those who are already weakened by other illnesses or old age.

However, the main danger is the ease at which infection is spread, meaning that more people who may be at higher risk could catch it.

So far there has been only three cases of novel Coronavirus in the UAE (all in the same family), and they came from Hubei province in China, were quickly isolated and are receiving medical treatment. No further cases have yet been reported.

This means that If you develop symptoms of cold or flu, you most likely have a normal cold or flu. However, if you have shortness of breath or feel very ill, always seek medical attention immediately.

Apart from very specific cases, students are expected to attend classes as usual, in line with advice from our main campus and UAE authorities.

If in doubt please speak to your tutor or student services.