(Photo by NICOLAS ASFOURI / AFP)

The spread of the coronavirus across China and to at least 10 other countries including the US, South Korea and Japan has prompted experts and health authorities to offer advice on how to reduce the chances of contracting the illness.

All but four of the 80 reported deaths so far have been recorded in Hubei province where the outbreak started. Experts have warned, however, that about 100,000 people may already be infected – far more than the 2,700 cases reported by China’s National Health Commission in China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.

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The World Health Organization is recommending that people take simple precautions to reduce exposure to and transmission of the virus, for which there is no specific cure or vaccine.

The UN agency advises people to:

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Frequently wash their hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or warm water and soap

Cover their mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue when sneezing or coughing

Avoid close contact with anyone who has a fever or cough

Seek early medical help if they have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, and share their travel history with healthcare providers

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Avoid direct, unprotected contact with live animals and surfaces in contact with animals when visiting live markets in affected areas

Avoid eating raw or undercooked animal products and exercise care when handling raw meat, milk or animal organs to avoid cross-contamination with uncooked foods


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