What is COVID – 19
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans. In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The most recently discovered coronavirus causes coronavirus disease COVID-19. This new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.
How does it spread?
People can catch COVID-19 from others who have the virus. The disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales. These droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person. Other people then catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. People can also catch COVID-19 if they breathe in droplets from a person with COVID-19 who coughs out or exhales droplets. This is why it is important to stay more than 1 meter (3 feet) away from a person who is sick.
Can the virus that causes COVID-19 be transmitted through the air?
Studies to date suggest that the virus that causes COVID-19 is mainly transmitted through contact with respiratory droplets rather than through the air.
How long does the virus survive on surfaces?
It is not certain how long the virus that causes COVID-19 survives on surfaces, but it seems to behave like other coronaviruses. Studies suggest that coronaviruses (including preliminary information on the COVID-19 virus) may persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days. This may vary under different conditions (e.g. type of surface, temperature or humidity of the environment).
If you think a surface may be infected, clean it with simple disinfectant to kill the virus and protect yourself and others. Clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, or nose.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms are similar to other illnesses that are much more common, such as cold and flu, but that COVID-19 can cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, older people, and those with long-term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don’t feel unwell. Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment. Around 1 out of every 6 people who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness. People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention.
Should I worry about COVID-19?
Illness due to COVID-19 infection is generally mild, especially for children and young adults. However, it can cause serious illness: about 1 in every 5 people who catch it need hospital care. It is therefore quite normal for people to worry about how the COVID-19 outbreak will affect them and their loved ones.
Source: Corona e-book (www.1mg.com)
What should I do if I suspect I have coronavirus or have been exposed to it?
– If you are unwell, stay at home. If you’re not feeling 100% but still feel able to work, you should consider working from home. Contact your supervisor and HR.
– wash your hands regularly with soap and water (or use hand sanitiser if not available) and observe good sneezing and coughing etiquette – cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, or your sleeve, but not your hand. Put used tissues in the bin straight away and wash your hands afterwards.
– Be prepared and plan ahead: do you have soap, sanitizer, drinking water and food at home? Would you be able to work from home if needed?
How can it be prevented?
According to MOH guidelines:
Anyone showing symptoms of chest infection illness such as fever, coughing, difficulty in breathing and sneezing with a history of travel to go to the nearest health facility for assessment and prompt management.
Anyone with recent history of travel to the affected countries are strongly advised to self- quarantine for 14 days and promptly report to the nearest health facility in case they develop any of the above and in the event they develop any illness they can call 719 or sms *719# for further direction.