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What is Covid-19?

Covid-19 is a respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus.

A coronavirus is part of a large family of viruses that cause illness in people and animals. The new coronavirus is the most recently discovered coronavirus. 

The full name of the virus that causes Covid-19 is severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). “This name was chosen because the virus is genetically related to the coronavirus responsible for the SARS outbreak of 2003. While related, the two viruses are different,” the World Health Organization explained.

The WHO refers to the virus as “the virus responsible for Covid-19” or “the Covid-19 virus” because “using the name SARS can have unintended consequences in terms of creating unnecessary fear for some populations, especially in Asia which was worst affected by the SARS outbreak in 2003”. 

 

Related: LIVE GUIDE: All our coronavirus fact-checks in one place

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