People need to do more than just wear face masks to avoid the coronavirus disease (Covid-19, formerly 2019-nCoV), according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

In its Feb. 4 situation report, the WHO recalled that “[d]uring previous outbreaks due to other coronavirus (Middle-East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), human-to-human transmission occurred through droplets, contact and fomites, suggesting that the transmission mode of the 2019-nCoV can be similar.”

There are five basic principles to “reduce the general risk of transmission of acute respiratory infections,” as follows:

​• Avoiding close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections.
• Frequent hand-washing, especially after direct contact with ill people or their environment.
• Avoiding unprotected contact with farm or wild animals.
• People with symptoms of acute respiratory infection should practice cough etiquette (maintain distance, cover coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or clothing, and wash hands).
• Within healthcare facilities, enhance standard infection prevention and control practices in hospitals, especially in emergency departments.

The WHO said it does not recommend any specific health measures for travelers. “In case of symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness either during or after travel, travelers are encouraged to seek medical attention and share their travel history with their healthcare provider,” the report said.

According to the WHO, coronaviruses (CoV) are “a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).” It says a novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a “new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.”

Here’s a timeline of events since the discovery and outbreak of the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).(