DEADLY coronavirus is spreading fast – with cases surging every day in the UK.
And now experts have revealed that it could take between five and 11 days for people to show symptoms of the respiratory illness.
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And they warned that signs could still appear after the quarantine period.
It comes as ten people in the UK have died after being diagnosed with Covid-19, with the number of cases rising to 596 across the country.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health analysed 181 cases from China and other countries and found that the average incubation period is 5.1 days.
And they discovered that almost all – 97.5 per cent – of those who develop symptoms appeared to do so within 11.5 days of infection.
However, experts say there is little evidence to suggest that people can spread the virus without showing any signs.
"We have a lot of confidence that the incubation period is around five days," said Justin Lessler, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health who led the study.
"Some people will have really short incubation periods and some people will have really long ones.
"The goal is catching most cases that are infected and have symptoms developed before the deadline."
As Covid-19 is a new virus, experts are still working to understand it.
Other researchers studying a smaller number of cases estimated Covid-19 has an incubation period as short as two days to as long as 14 days, with a few reported cases taking up to 27 days to develop.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson yesterday said anyone with a mild cough or temperature must now stay at home for seven days.
The PM said school trips abroad should be stopped, while people over 70 with serious medical conditions should not go on cruises.
He told the nation: "Many more families are going to lose loved ones before their time."
He added: "We are not closing schools at this time.
"This could do more harm than good."
And in a direct appeal to the nation's elderly, he added: "The Government will do all we can to help your and your family".
The 3 warning signs
According to the NHS and the World Health Organisation (WHO), the most common symptoms of coronavirus infection usually include:
- A cough
- A high temperature
- Shortness of breath
Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhoea – but these are usually mild and begin gradually.
Some people will not develop all of these symptoms – and some might not even show symptoms at all, experts say.
Around one out of every six who gets Covid-19 become seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing, according to the WHO.
Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness.
This can include pneumonia and swelling in the lungs, which can make it hard for the lungs to pass oxygen into the bloodstream – leading to organ failure and death.
Severe pneumonia can kill people by causing them to "drown" in the fluid flooding their lungs.
People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention, the WHO says.
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