Background of COVID-19

The virus causing COVID-19 is named SARS-CoV-2, initially known as 2019-nCoV. It is short for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, with “coronavirus” referring to its appearance of corona-like spikes (Chorba, T., 2020) [1]. The disease it causes is called COVID-19, a respiratory illness categorized as an airborne infectious disease.


COVID-19 emerged in November 2019, initially causing severe respiratory disease in Wuhan City, China, with suspected origins in wet markets. Transmission shifted from animal contact to human-to-human, likely due to a spike mutation in SARS-CoV-2 from bats (Hashim et al., 2021) [2]. Its highly contagious nature led to a global pandemic declaration by the World Health Organization (WHO) on March 11, 2020, as it spread to the U.S. and beyond.


The COVID-19 pandemic has become the most significant communicable disease outbreak in Malaysia since the 1918 Spanish Flu. While previous outbreaks like Nipah virus in 1999 and SARS in 2003 were relatively contained, COVID-19 has had a much larger impact. As of April 2024, there have been 37,348 reported deaths and 5,278,406 infections in Malaysia with an overall fatality rate of 0.8%, as reported by the Ministry of Health Malaysia. In order to control the spread of the virus, Malaysia implemented a Movement Control Order (MCO) from March 18 to May 12, 2020, causing significant economic losses of RM2.4 billion per day during MCO period and an accumulated loss of RM63 billion by April 2020 (Hashim et al., 2021) [2].



Compiled by: Vincci Ng

Supervised by: George Ngui



Reference Link: 

Background to coronavirus (COVID-19) — ICM anaesthesia COVID-19. (n.d.). ICM Anaesthesia COVID-19.,language%20associated%20with%20the%20virus.

Hashim, J. H. (2021, May 7). COVID-19 Epidemic in Malaysia: Epidemic Progression, Challenges, and Response. National Library of Medicine.,history%20of%20the%20individual%20case.

Rath, L. (2023, November 21). What is the history of coronavirus? WebMD.

Chorba, T. (2020, September). The Concept of the Crown and Its Potential Role in the Downfall of Coronavirus. National Library of Medicine.