New coronavirus causing concerns

Greg Davies

Greg Davies
Director of Market Development, Assurity Consulting
22nd January 2020

While colds are the usual result of a human coronavirus (CoV) infection, mutated strains of the virus also occur. These become known as a novel coronavirus (nCoV), are usually transmitted initially from animals, then person to person, and because they are “new”, where causing infection, they can lead to serious health problems, for example:

  • SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), caused by the SARS CoV coronavirus, led to a pandemic in the early 2000’s with 8098 reported cases and 774 deaths. The virus was initially transmitted to humans from civets.
  • MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome), caused by the MERS-CoV coronavirus, and originated in Jordan in 2012 with all subsequent cases associated with residence in or travel around the Middle East. According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) “about 3 or 4 out of every 10 patients reported with MERS have died.” This virus was initially transmitted from dromedary camels to humans.

With currently no confirmed cases in the UK, the risk is currently standing at "low", The Department for Health and Social Care and Public Health England have though released a joint statement regarding the screening of passengers arriving in the UK from Wuhan.

For those organisations with people travelling to/recently travelled to China, a review of your travel advice and information to those coming back, especially if they feel unwell is needed. The Government have also provided information, which was last updated yesterday at

Equally now may also be a good time to review your business continuity plan in the event of a pandemic, just in case. Our guide on Pandemic flu can be found at