By now, your students have heard about the new coronavirus (COVID-19), whether it’s been overheard from their parents, a news snippet, or from other kids at school. So what should you tell them about the coronavirus?
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Inform your students about the coronavirus in an age-appropriate way. World Book Online provides relevant, important, and timely information to allow for a clear understanding of a topic that is widely misunderstood.

The coronavirus and COVID-19 articles are updated on a near daily basis.
A new article ‘Social distancing‘ has been published to inform your students about why we need to use these measures to slow or stop the spread of this contagious disease.


COVID-19 is the name for a contagious respiratory (breathing) disease. It was first recognised in China in 2019. A virus called SARS-CoV-2 causes the disease.

The symptoms of COVID-19 include breathing difficulties, coughing, and fever. The symptoms can be fatal in a small percentage of cases. No vaccines or drugs can prevent or cure the disease. But scientists are working to develop a vaccine to prevent the disease. Treatment of infected patients mainly involves relieving the symptoms of infection.

COVID-19 was first recognised in human beings in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019. It was given the temporary name 2019-nCoV, for novel (new) coronavirus disease of 2019. Coronaviruses are one of many virus types that cause the common cold and other diseases of the upper respiratory system. The new disease was later officially named COVID-19. The first COVID-19 cases occurred near a seafood and live animal market. Because of this, scientists think the disease originated by spreading from animals to people. But the virus now spreads from person to person.


Australia recorded its first case in late January. Australia’s government imposed restrictions on people travelling to Australia from China, and later, as the disease spread, from other countries as well. People who did arrive from such areas, including Australians, were required to self-isolate (stay away from other people) for two weeks. Individual states and territories of Australia also adopted measures to try to contain the disease.

In late March and early April, the government tightened restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of the disease within the country. These actions included requiring residents to practice social distancing, banning public gatherings, and closing nonessential businesses. Individual states and territories also adopted measures to try to contain the disease. In addition, the national, state, and territorial governments began establishing programs to assist workers and businesses.

By early May, some states and territories had begun relaxing restrictions on the public, following a significant decline in Australia’s infection rate.

New Zealand

New Zealand recorded its first case in late February. New Zealand’s government imposed restrictions on people traveling to New Zealand from China and, beginning in mid-March, from other countries as well. People who did arrive from such areas, including New Zealanders, were required to self-isolate (stay away from other people) for two weeks. Other restrictions included limitations on the size of social gatherings.

In late March, the government announced the closing of schools, nonessential businesses, and public places throughout the country for a month, and advised residents to practice social distancing. The government also began establishing programs to provide financial assistance for workers and businesses.

In late April, the government eased some restrictions following a remarkable decrease in new cases of COVID-19.

Social Distancing

Social distancing is an effort to slow or stop the spread of a contagious disease by limiting contact between people. Social distancing is most effective against illnesses that can be transmitted by coughing or sneezing, direct or indirect physical contact, or through the air. Indirect physical contact involves different individuals having contact with the same item or surface. People are generally encouraged to keep a distance of around 2 metres from one another in public.

Social distancing can slow the spread of disease, meaning fewer people are sick at the same time. This helps to ensure that people can receive enough medical care. If too many people get sick at the same time, hospitals and other care facilities cannot treat them all.

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