The Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) are a large group of viruses, with six of these viruses known to cause a range of illnesses from the common cold to the more serious Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).
The 2019 Novel Coronavirus was discovered in early January 2020 after an unusual cluster of pneumonia cases was noted in Wuhan City, Hubei province, China. This new virus affects the respiratory system and causes mild to severe diseases and has resulted in the death of some people, mainly in China.
WHO periodically updates the Global Surveillance for human infection with coronavirus disease (COVID-19) document which includes case definitions.
For easy reference, case definitions are included below.
A. A patient with acute respiratory illness (fever and at least one sign/symptom of respiratory disease (e.g., cough, shortness of breath), AND with no other etiology that fully explains the clinical presentation AND a history of travel to or residence in a country/area or territory reporting local transmission (See situation report) of COVID-19 disease during the 14 days prior to symptom onset.
B. A patient with any acute respiratory illness AND having been in contact with a confirmed or probable COVID19 case (see definition of contact) in the last 14 days prior to onset of symptoms;
C. A patient with severe acute respiratory infection (fever and at least one sign/symptom of respiratory disease (e.g., cough, shortness breath) AND requiring hospitalization AND with no other etiology that fully explains the clinical presentation.
A suspect case for whom testing for COVID-19 is inconclusive.
A person with laboratory confirmation of COVID-19 infection, irrespective of clinical signs and symptoms.