The Center for Coronavirus Information

Novel coronavirus


Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.

Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment.  Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.

The best way to prevent and slow down transmission is be well informed about the COVID-19 virus, the disease it causes and how it spreads. Protect yourself and others from infection by washing your hands or using an alcohol based rub frequently and not touching your face. 

The COVID-19 virus spreads primarily through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose when an infected person coughs or sneezes, so it’s important that you also practice respiratory etiquette (for example, by coughing into a flexed elbow).

At this time, there are no specific vaccines or treatments for COVID-19. However, there are many ongoing clinical trials evaluating potential treatments. WHO will continue to provide updated information as soon as clinical findings become available.


Prevention

To prevent infection and to slow transmission of COVID-19, do the following:

 
  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water, or clean them with alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Maintain at least 1 metre distance between you and people coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
  • Stay home if you feel unwell.
  • Refrain from smoking and other activities that weaken the lungs.
  • Practice physical distancing by avoiding unnecessary travel and staying away from large groups of people.

Symptoms

COVID-19 affects different people in different ways. Most infected people will develop mild to moderate illness and recover without hospitalization.

Most common symptoms:

  • fever.
  • dry cough.
  • tiredness.

Less common symptoms:

  • aches and pains.
  • sore throat.
  • diarrhoea.
  • conjunctivitis.
  • headache.
  • loss of taste or smell.
  • a rash on skin, or discolouration of fingers or toes.

Serious symptoms:

  • difficulty breathing or shortness of breath.
  • chest pain or pressure.
  • loss of speech or movement.

Seek immediate medical attention if you have serious symptoms.  Always call before visiting your doctor or health facility. 

People with mild symptoms who are otherwise healthy should manage their symptoms at home. 

On average it takes 5–6 days from when someone is infected with the virus for symptoms to show, however it can take up to 14 days. 

 


How to use a mask

  1. Always wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
  2. If you wear a mask, it is your duty to know how to use it and how to properly dispose of it after its use.
  3. Clean your hands thoroughly with an alcohol or soap and water based cleaner before putting on a mask
  4. Properly cover your mouth and nose with the mask and make sure there are no gaps between your face and the mask.
  5. Try to avoid touching the mask while using it.
  6. Replace the mask with a new one as soon as it is wet and do not reuse disposable masks.
  7. To remove the mask, remove it from behind (do not touch the front of the mask), discard it immediately in a closed container, then wipe hands with alcohol-based soap or scrub and water.

Ok I think I'm infected, now what?

 

  1. Self-isolation at home has been recommended for those diagnosed with COVID-19 and those who suspect they have been infected.
  2. Public health agencies have issued self-isolation instructions that include notification of healthcare providers by phone and restricting all activities outside of the home, except for getting medical care.
  3. Do not go to work, school, or public areas. Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis
  4. Those who have recently travelled to a country with widespread transmission or who have been in direct contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 have also been asked by some government health agencies to self-quarantine or practise social distancing for 14 days from the time of last possible exposure.
  5. Attempts to relieve the symptoms may include taking regular (over-the-counter) cold medications, drinking fluids, and resting. Depending on the severity, oxygen therapy, intravenous fluids, and breathing support may be required.
  6. The use of steroids may worsen outcomes.