Confirmed cases of Covid-19 now span 79 countries, with more than 3,100 deaths, all but 215 in mainland China – data correct at 12:59pm, 3 March
The coronavirus outbreak began in Wuhan, a city of more than 11 million people and the capital of Hubei province in China.
The vast majority of infections are being reported in mainland China but cases have now been confirmed in 79 countries, including 51 cases in the UK.
How the virus spread around the world
The number of confirmed cases has risen rapidly since the respiratory virus emerged in December. There has been speculation that the outbreak spread from a wildlife market in Wuhan.
If Covid-19 cannot be controlled, it could affect about two-thirds of the world’s population, according to a leading public health expert in Hong Kong.
Thousands of people affected by the coronavirus globally have already recovered. As Covid-19 is a viral illness, antibiotics are of no use and neither are antiviral drugs that work against flu. Recovery depends on the strength of the immune system and many of those who have died were already in poor health. The World Health Organization recommends people take simple precautions to reduce exposure and transmission.