SARS is a highly infectious respiratory viral disease, which presents much like flu (fever, sore throat, dry cough, headache, chills, stiff muscles). Quarantining of patients is the only option, however there have been no reported cases of SARS since 2004.…
Novel coronavirus (COVID-19)
Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) - What you need to know?
If you think you may have contracted coronavirus or been in close contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus, you must isolate yourself, which means you stay at home and do not attend public places, including work, school, childcare or university. You must phone your health provider for further instructions as soon as possible.
While coronavirus is of concern, it is important to remember that most people displaying symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat or tiredness are likely suffering with a cold or other respiratory illness--not coronavirus.
What is a coronavirus and COVID-19?
Coronaviruses can make humans and animals sick. Some coronaviruses can cause illness similar to the common cold and others can cause more serious diseases, including Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).
How is this coronavirus spread?
The coronavirus is most likely to spread from person-to-person through:
- direct close contact with a person while they are infectious. This may include a period of 14 days or more before symptoms begin,
- close contact with a person with a confirmed infection who coughs or sneezes, or
- touching objects or surfaces (such as door handles or tables) contaminated from a cough or sneeze from a person with a confirmed infection, and then touching your mouth or face. Studies suggest that the virus can remain active on surfaces for up to 5 days.
Most infections are only transmitted by people when they have symptoms. These can include fever, a cough, sore throat, tiredness and shortness of breath.
How can we help prevent the spread of coronavirus?
Practising good hand and sneeze/cough hygiene is the best defence against most viruses. You should:
- wash your hands frequently with soap and water, before preparing food, before and after eating, and after going to the toilet,
- cover your cough and sneeze, dispose of tissues, and use alcohol-based hand sanitiser, and
- if unwell, avoid contact with others (touching, kissing, hugging, and other intimate contact).
Who needs to isolate?
To help limit the spread of coronavirus, you must isolate yourself If you have been in close contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus, you must isolate yourself for at least 14 days from the date of last contact with the confirmed case.
What does isolate in your home mean?
People who must isolate need to stay at home and must not attend public places, in particular work, school, childcare or university. Only people who usually live in the household should be in the home.
Do not allow visitors into the home. Where possible, get others such as friends or family who are not required to be isolated to get food or other necessities for you. If you must leave the home, such as to seek medical care, wear a mask if you have one.
What do I do if I develop symptoms?
If you develop symptoms (fever, a cough, sore throat, tiredness or shortness of breath) within 14 days of last contact of a confirmed case, you should wear a mask and phone your healthcare provider to get advice and directions on where to go for urgent assessment.
You should telephone the health clinic or hospital BEFORE YOU ARRIVE and tell them your travel history or that you may have been in contact with a potential case of coronavirus. You must remain isolated either in your home or a healthcare setting until public health authorities inform you it is safe for you to return to your usual activities.
Who is most at risk of a serious illness?
Some people who are infected may not get sick at all, some will get mild symptoms from which they will recover easily, and others may become very ill, very quickly. From previous experience with other coronaviruses, the people at most risk of serious infection are:
- people with compromised immune systems, such as people with cancer,
- elderly people,
- very young children and babies, and
- people with diagnosed chronic medical conditions.
How is the virus treated?
There is no specific treatment for coronaviruses. Antibiotics are not effective against viruses. Most of the symptoms can be treated with supportive medical care.
For the latest advice, information and resources, go to https://www.who.int
If you have concerns about your health, speak to your doctor
FAQ Frequently asked questions
What is the coronavirus disease (COVID-19)?
COVID-19 is an infectious viral disease that spreads mainly through sneezes and coughs and infects the respiratory tract.
What are the symptoms of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19)?
Symptoms of COVID-19 resemble those of the flu: fever, chills, coughing and shortness of breath. Other symptoms that have been observed are sore throat, headache, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhoea and coughing up blood.
What causes the coronavirus disease (COVID-19)?
The COVID-19 disease is caused by the novel coronavirus virus. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, which also includes the common cold. Some cause illness in people, and others, such as canine and feline coronaviruses, only infect …
Who gets the coronavirus disease (COVID-19)?
Anyone can catch COVID-19 if exposed to an infected person.
How is the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) diagnosed?
Because COVID-19 has similar symptoms to other viral diseases, it is not easy to diagnose. Infection with the novel coronavirus is diagnosed by finding evidence of the virus in respiratory samples such as swabs from the back of the nose …
How is the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) treated?
There is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for COVID-19. People with COVID-19 should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms. For severe cases, treatment should include care to support vital organ functions. People who …
How long does the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infection last?
The infection period for the novel coronavirus will vary from person to person. Mild symptoms in an otherwise healthy individual may resolve over just a few days. Similar to influenza, for an individual with other ongoing …
How to prevent the coronavirus disease (COVID-19)?
There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases include: …
How is the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) spread?
The COVID-19 virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person. Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 2 meters) and through respiratory droplets and small viral particles that can float in the air when …