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Scientists have confirmed that the symptoms of coronavirus take five days on average for people to start showing.

The Covid-19 disease, which causes fever, cough and breathing problems, is spreading around the world and has already affected more than 116,000 people, according to reports.

A team of experts from the US team analysed known cases from China and other countries to understand more about the disease, reports stated.

Most people who develop symptoms do so on or around day five.

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Anyone who is symptom-free by day 12 is unlikely to get symptoms, but they may still be infectious carriers.

The researchers advise people who could be infectious – whether they have symptoms or not – to self-isolate for 14 days to avoid spreading it to others.

If they follow that guidance – which has already been adopted in the UK and US – it is estimated that for every 100 individuals quarantined for a fortnight, one of them might develop symptoms after being released, Annals of Internal Medicine reported.

Experts believe most people who get the infection will only have mild disease.

Some will be asymptomatic, ie carrying the virus but experiencing no symptoms.

But the disease can be very serious and even deadly for some – typically elderly people with pre-existing health conditions.

People are thought to be most contagious when they have obvious symptoms, like cough and fever.

Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

The best way to protect oneself and help prevent infection is to:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are unwell
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Use tissues to catch coughs and sneezes, then put them in the bin and wash your hands
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water

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