The death toll in China's coronavirus outbreak has risen to 490 while the total number of confirmed cases mounted to 24,324.
All the Chinese cities, including Beijing, have been reporting a daily increase in the cases of the virus, which has now spread to over 20 countries.
As the novel coronavirus spreads its reach, there have been plenty of rumours circulating on social media about the virus.
To curb misinformation and fears about coronavirus, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has listed out all the myths and facts. Take a look:
Myth: Unsafe to receive a package from China
Fact: Yes, it is safe. People receiving packages from China are not at risk of contracting the new coronavirus. The coronaviruses do not survive long on objects, such as letters or packages.
Myth: Coronavirus is spread by pets
Fact: At present, there is no evidence that companion animals/pets such as dogs or cats can be infected with the new coronavirus. However, it is always a good idea to wash your hands with soap and water after contact with pets.
Also read | World currently 'not in a pandemic' of China virus, says WHO
Myth: Vaccines against pneumonia protect against the new coronavirus
Fact: No. Vaccines against pneumonia, such as pneumococcal vaccine and Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) vaccine, do not provide protection against the new coronavirus. The virus is so new and different that it needs its own vaccine.
Myth: Regularly rinsing nose with saline helps prevent coronavirus infection
Fact: No. There is no evidence that regularly rinsing the nose with saline has protected people from infection with the new coronavirus.
There is some limited evidence that regularly rinsing nose with saline can help people recover more quickly from the common cold. However, regularly rinsing the nose has not been shown to prevent respiratory infections.
Also read | Death toll in China rises to 490, total confirmed cases over 24,000
Myth: Gargling mouthwash protects from coronavirus infection
Fact: No. There is no evidence that using mouthwash will protect you from infection with the new coronavirus.
Some brands of mouthwash can eliminate certain microbes for a few minutes in the saliva in your mouth. However, this does not mean they protect you from 2019-nCoV infection.
Myth: Eating garlic helps prevent coronavirus infection
Fact: Garlic is a healthy food that may have some antimicrobial properties. However, there is no evidence from the current outbreak that eating garlic has protected people from the new coronavirus.
Myth: Putting on sesame oil blocks the new coronavirus from entering the body
Fact: No. Sesame oil does not protect the body from coronavirus. There are some chemical disinfectants that can kill the 2019-nCoV on surfaces. These include bleach/chlorine-based disinfectants, either solvents, 75 percent ethanol, peracetic acid and chloroform.
However, they have little or no impact on the virus if you put them on the skin or under your nose. It can even be dangerous to put these chemicals on your skin.
Also read | Angry Wuhan residents criticise government's handling of crisis
Myth: New coronavirus only affects older people
Fact: People of all ages can be infected by the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Older people and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease, etc.) appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus.
Myth: Antibiotics are effective in preventing and treating the new coronavirus
Fact: No, antibiotics do not work against viruses, only bacteria. The new coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a virus and, therefore, antibiotics should not be used as a means of prevention or treatment.
However, if you are hospitalized for the 2019-nCoV, you may receive antibiotics because bacterial co-infection is possible.
Myth: There are specific medicines that prevent and treat coronavirus
Fact: No, till date, there is no specific medicine recommended to prevent or treat the new coronavirus.