Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome.

Coronaviruses are zoonotic which means they are passed between animals and people. This virus has not previously been seen in humans. The source of the virus is believed to have come from a market in Wuhan which sells both dead and live animals .The animal that was the cause of the sudden outbreak has not yet been identified, but is thought to be bats.

Symptoms include a cough, a high temperature and shortness of breath similar to that of other common illnesses such as cold and flu making it more dangerous.

The Department for Education (DFE) are suggesting that students returning from Northern Italy, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos or Myanmar within the period of fourteen days and develop symptoms should stay indoors at home avoiding all contact with other people and immediately call NHS111. However this advice does not need to be followed if the student does not have any symptoms.

The country with the most cases is China with a total of 79,257 and the total number of cases that have currently been identified is 85,993. There has been 2,942 deaths, 39,801 have recovered and 43,250 active cases.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) suggests in order prevent being infected with the coronavirus you should wash your hands frequently, maintain a distance of at least 1 metre between yourself and anyone coughing and sneezing, avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth and practise respiratory hygiene e.g. covering your mouth when coughing.

Despite the significant number of cases in Italy, Iran and China, the UK has a recorded number of 15 cases so far. Although the numbers are low 14 schools across the country from Worcestershire to Berkshire to Essex have closed. In Trinity Catholic College pupils have returned from Italy where more than 1,000 cases have been identified. With GCSE exams in the near future this could pose a serious issue for year 11 students. Will the virus lead to even more schools across the UK being shut down?