COVID-19 (formerly nCoV-19) was initially identified from cultured samples from pneumonia cases using electron microscopy, and reported as a betacoronavirus, similar to MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV. PCR Assays were then developed and the novel virus identified.
The full genome has been shared and is available and WHO, CDC and PHE have guidelines for laboratories. A fully validated assay has yet to be developed but is expected soon.
Further following resources are available:
The ECDC advise that infection with COVID-19 should be immediately reported to the Early Warning and Response System (EWRS) in accordance with Decision No 1082/2013 on serious cross-border threats to health and to the IHR system in accordance with the International Health Regulations 2005 (IHR).