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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. (source: WHO)

Covid-19 is an infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. This new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. (source: WHO)

No. The virus that causes Covid-19 and the one that caused the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003 are related to each other genetically, but the diseases they cause are quite different. SARS was more deadly but much less infectious than Covid-19. There have been no outbreaks of SARS anywhere in the world since 2003. (source: WHO)

Currently, the source of SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus causing Covid-19 is unknown. All available evidence suggests that SARS-CoV-2 has a natural animal origin and is not a constructed virus. The SARS-CoV-2 virus most probably has its ecological reservoir in bats. SARS-CoV-2 belongs to a group of genetically-related viruses, which also include SARS-CoV and a number of other CoVs isolated from bats populations. MERS-CoV also belongs to this group but is less closely related. (source: WHO)

The first human cases of Covid-19 were identified in Wuhan City, China in December 2019. At this stage, it is not possible to determine precisely how humans in China were initially infected with SARS-CoV-2.

However, SARS-CoV, the virus which caused the SARS outbreak in 2003, jumped from an animal reservoir (civet cats, a farmed wild animal) to humans and then spread between humans. In a similar way, it is thought that SARS-CoV-2 jumped the species barrier and initially infected humans, but more likely through an intermediate host, that is another animal species more likely to be handled by humans - this could be a domestic animal, a wild animal, or a domesticated wild animal and, as of yet, has not been identified. Until the source of this virus is identified and controlled, there is a risk of reintroduction of the virus in the human population and the risk of new outbreaks like the ones we are currently experiencing. (source: WHO)

The most common symptoms of Covid-19 are

  • fever
  • Tiredness
  • 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. (source: WHO)

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.

We can channel our concerns into actions to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our communities. First and foremost among these actions is regular and thorough hand-washing and good respiratory hygiene. Secondly, keep informed and follow the advice of the local health authorities including any restrictions put in place on travel, movement and gatherings. (source: WHO)

While we are still learning about how Covid-2019 affects people, older persons and persons with pre-existing medical conditions (such as high blood pressure, heart disease, lung disease, cancer or diabetes) appear to develop serious illness more often than others. (source: WHO)

If you develop an acute onset of fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or shortness of breath, you should visit nearest health facility and the doctors' will decide if you need to be tested for Covid-19 depending upon your history of travel to affected countries or contact with any suspected/lab-confirmed case. (source: MoHFW)

You should self-quarantine if you are

  • living in the same household as a Covid-19 case
  • had direct physical contact with a Covid-19 case or his/her infectious secretions without recommended personal protective equipment (PPE) or with a possible breach of PPE
  • A person who was in a closed environment or had a face to face contact with a Covid-19 case at a distance of within 1 meter (3 feet) including air travel.
  • (source: MoHFW)

The home quarantine period is for 14 days from contact with a confirmed case or earlier if a suspect case (of whom the index person is a contact) turns out negative on laboratory testing. (source: MoHFW)

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. (source: WHO)

The virus that causes Covid-19 is mainly transmitted through droplets generated when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or speaks. These droplets are too heavy to hang in the air. They quickly fall on floors or surfaces. You can be infected by breathing in the virus if you are within 1 meter (3 feet) of a person who has Covid-19, or by touching a contaminated surface and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth before washing your hand. (source: WHO)

The main way the disease spreads is through respiratory droplets expelled by someone who is coughing. The risk of catching Covid-19 from someone with no symptoms at all is very low. However, many people with Covid-19 experience only mild symptoms. This is particularly true at the early stages of the disease. It is, therefore, possible to catch Covid-19 from someone who has, for example, just a mild cough and does not feel ill. (source: WHO)

The risk of catching Covid-19 from the feces of an infected person appears to be low. While initial investigations suggest the virus may be present in feces in some cases, spread through this route is not a main feature of the outbreak. The ongoing research on the ways Covid-19 is spread and will continue to share new findings. Because this is a risk, however, it is another reason to clean hands regularly, after using the bathroom and before eating. (source: WHO)

The “incubation period” means the time between catching the virus and beginning to have symptoms of the disease. Most estimates of the incubation period for Covid-19 range from 1-14 days, most commonly around 5 days. These estimates will be updated as more data become available. (source: WHO)

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in animals. Occasionally, people get infected with these viruses which may then spread to other people. For example, SARS-CoV was associated with civet cats and MERS-CoV is transmitted by dromedary camels. Possible animal sources of Covid-19 have not yet been confirmed.

To protect yourself, such as when visiting live animal markets, avoid direct contact with animals and surfaces in contact with animals. Ensure good food safety practices at all times. Handle raw meat, milk or animal organs with care to avoid contamination of uncooked foods and avoid consuming raw or undercooked animal products. (source: WHO)

While there has been one instance of a dog being infected in Hong Kong, to date, there is no evidence that a dog, cat or any pet can transmit Covid-19. Covid-19 is mainly spread through droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or speaks. To protect yourself, clean your hands frequently and thoroughly.

WHO continues to monitor the latest research on this and other Covid- 19 topics and will update as new findings are available. (source: WHO)

It is not certain how long SARS-CoV-2, 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. (source: WHO)

Yes. The likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low and the risk of catching the virus that causes Covid-19 from a package that has been moved, traveled, and exposed to different conditions and temperatures is also low. (source: WHO)

No. Antibiotics do not work against viruses, they only work on bacterial infections. Covid-19 is caused by a virus, so antibiotics do not work. Antibiotics should not be used as a means of prevention or treatment of Covid-19. They should only be used as directed by a physician to treat a bacterial infection. (source: WHO)

While some western, traditional or home remedies may provide comfort and alleviate symptoms of Covid-19, there is no evidence that current medicine can prevent or cure the disease. WHO does not recommend self-medication with any medicines, including antibiotics, as a prevention or cure for Covid-19. However, there are several ongoing clinical trials that include both western and traditional medicines. We will continue to provide updated information as soon as clinical findings are available. (source: WHO)

Not yet. To date, there is no vaccine and no specific antiviral medicine to prevent or treat Covid-2019. However, those affected should receive care to relieve symptoms. People with serious illness should be hospitalized. Most patients recover thanks to supportive care.

Possible vaccines and some specific drug treatments are under investigation. They are being tested through clinical trials.

The most effective ways to protect yourself and others against Covid-19 are to frequently clean your hands, cover your cough with the bend of elbow or tissue, and maintain a distance of at least 1 meter (3 feet) from people who are coughing or sneezing. (source: WHO)

Stay aware of the latest information on the Covid-19 outbreak, available on the national, state and local public health authorities. Many countries around the world have seen cases of Covid-19 and several have seen outbreaks.

You can protect yourself against Covid- 19 by taking some simple precautions:

  • Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands
  • Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing. When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain the virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the Covid-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth. Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.
  • Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately. Why? Droplets spread the virus. By following good respiratory hygiene you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and Covid-19.
  • Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call the national helpline number - 1075. Follow the directions of your local health authority. Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility.
  • Keep up to date on the latest Covid-19 hotspots (cities or local areas where Covid-19 is spreading widely). If possible, avoid traveling to places – especially if you are an older person or have diabetes, heart or lung disease. Why? You have a higher chance of catching Covid-19 in one of these areas.
(source: WHO)

The risk depends on where you are - and more specifically, whether there is a Covid-19 outbreak unfolding there.

For most people in most locations, the risk of catching Covid-19 is still low. Governments and health authorities are taking vigorous action every time a new case of Covid-19 is identified. Be sure to comply with any local restrictions on travel, movement or large gatherings. Cooperating with disease control efforts will reduce your risk of catching or spreading Covid-19. (source: WHO)

Persons having no symptoms are not to use a mask.

Medical masks should not be used by healthy persons who are not having any symptoms because it creates a false sense of security that can lead to neglecting other essential measures such as the washing of hands.

Further, there is no scientific evidence to show the health benefit of using masks for non-sick persons in the community. In fact, erroneous use of masks or continuous use of a disposable mask for longer than 6 hours or repeated use of the same mask may actually increase the risk of getting an infection. It also incurs unnecessary costs. (source: MoHFW)

You should use medical masks if:

  • you develop a cough or fever. Use of medical three-layer masks when ill will prevent your infection from spreading to others. However, you also need to wash your hands frequently to avoid spreading the infection to others
  • You are visiting a healthcare facility
  • you are caring for an ill person
  • You come in close family contacts of such suspect/confirmed cases undergoing home care should also use a triple-layer medical mask
(source: MoHFW)

Used mask should be considered as potentially infected. Masks used by patients/caregivers/ close contacts during home care should be disinfected using ordinary bleach solution (5%) or sodium hypochlorite solution (1%) and then disposed of either by burning or deep burial. (source: MoHFW)

A medical mask, if properly worn, will be effective for 8 hours. If it gets wet in between, it needs to be changed immediately. (source: MoHFW)

Self-monitor your health starting from the day of the last contact with such a case and continue for 28 days. Watch the development of acute onset of signs and symptoms

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing

If you observe any of the above symptoms visit the nearest health facility for further advice and treatment. Further, you must furnish the details of the exposure of such patients to your health care provider. (source: MoHFW)

  • Stay at home. Avoid meeting visitors at home. If meeting is essential, maintain a distance of one meter.
  • Wash your hands and face at regular intervals with soap and water.
  • Sneeze and cough either into your elbow or into tissue paper/handkerchief.
  • After coughing or sneezing dispose of the tissue paper/ wash your handkerchief.
  • Ensure proper nutrition through home-cooked fresh hot meals, hydrate frequently and take fresh juices to boost immunity.
  • Exercise and meditate
  • Take your daily prescribed medicines regularly
  • Talk to your family members (not staying with you), relatives, friends via call or video conferencing, take help from family members if needed
  • Postpone your elective surgeries (if any) like cataract surgery or total knee replacement
  • Clean the frequently touched surfaces with disinfectant regularly.
  • Monitor your health. If you develop fever, cough and/or breathing difficulty immediately contact the nearest health care facility and follow the medical advice rendered.
(source: MoHFW)

  • Do not cough or sneeze into your bare hands or without covering your face.
  • Don’t go near your contacts if you are suffering from fever and cough.
  • Don’t touch your eyes, face, nose, and tongue.
  • Don’t go near affected/ sick people.
  • Don’t self-medicate.
  • Don’t shake hands or hug your friends and near ones.
  • Do not go to the hospital for routine checkup or follow up. As far as possible make teleconsultation with your healthcare provider.
  • Don’t go to crowded places like parks, markets and religious places.
  • Don’t go out unless it is absolutely essential.
(source: MoHFW)

  • Stay in a well-ventilated single-room preferably with an attached/separate toilet. If another family member needs to stay in the same room, it’s advisable to maintain a distance of at least 1 meter between the two.
  • Stay away from elderly people, pregnant women, children, and persons with co-morbidities within the household.
  • Restrict movement within the house
  • Under no circumstances attend any social/religious gathering e.g. wedding, condolences, etc.
  • Wash hand as often thoroughly with soap and water or with alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Avoid sharing household items e.g. dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, bedding, or other items with other people at home.
  • Wear a surgical mask at all the time. The mask should be changed every 6-8 hours and disposed off. Disposable masks are never to be reused.
  • Masks used by patients/caregivers/close contacts during home care should be disinfected using ordinary bleach solution (5%) or sodium hypochlorite solution (1%) and then disposed of either by burning or deep burial.
  • Used masks should be considered as potentially infected.
  • If symptoms appear (cough/fever/difficulty in breathing), he/she should immediately inform the nearest health centre or call 011-23978046.
(source: MoHFW)

  • Only an assigned family member should be tasked with taking care of the such person
  • Avoid shaking the soiled linen or direct contact with skin
  • Use disposable gloves when cleaning the surfaces or handling soiled linen
  • Wash hands after removing gloves
  • Visitors should not be allowed
  • In case the person being quarantined becomes symptomatic, all his close contacts will be home quarantined (for 14 days) and followed up for an additional 14 days or till the report of such case turns out negative on lab testing.
(source: MoHFW)


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