What is a novel coronavirus?
A novel coronavirus is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified. The virus causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is not the same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illness, like the common cold.

Why is it called COVID-19?
On February 11, 2020 the World Health Organization announced an official name for the disease that is causing the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak, first identified in Wuhan China. The new name of this disease is coronavirus disease 2019, abbreviated as COVID-19. In COVID-19, ‘CO’ stands for ‘corona,’ ‘VI’ for ‘virus,’ and ‘D’ for disease. Formerly, this disease was referred to as “2019 novel coronavirus” or “2019-nCoV”.
There are many types of human coronaviruses including some that commonly cause mild upper-respiratory tract illnesses. COVID-19 is a new disease, caused by a novel (or new) coronavirus that has not previously been seen in humans.

How does the virus spread?
The virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly from person to person, mainly through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Spread is more likely when people are in close contact with one another.

COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in the community (“community spread”). Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected.

It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes. This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, but we are still learning more about how this virus spreads.

At this time, the risk of COVID-19 spreading from animals to people is considered to be low.

How serious is COVID-19?
COVID-19 illnesses have ranged from mild (with no reported symptoms in some cases) to severe to the point of requiring hospitalization, intensive care, and/or a ventilator. And, in some cases, COVID-19 illnesses can lead to death. Older people, and those with pre- existing medical conditions (such as high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes) appear to be more vulnerable.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
The symptoms to watch out for are: Loss or change in sense of smell or taste, fever. chills or sweats, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath and runny nose. In certain circumstances headache, muscle soreness, stuffy nose, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea may also be considered.

How is COVD-19 diagnosed?
To diagnose COVID-19 virus, a health care provider uses a long swab to take a sample from the nose or throat. The samples are then sent to a lab for testing.
Is there medicine I can take to feel better if I have COVID-19?
Currently, no medication is recommended to treat COVID-19, and no cure is available. For most people, rest and drinking plenty of fluids are the best treatments. Your doctor may also suggest you take over-the-counter medication for fever.
More severe cases require hospitalization. Care at a hospital varies depending on the individual. You may get breathing support, such as a ventilator, or other treatments.

If I have COVID-19, how long will it take until I feel better?
Those with a mild case of COVID-19 appear to recover within one to two weeks. For severe cases, recovery may take six weeks or more, and there may be lasting damage to the heart, kidneys, lungs and brain.

How do I protect myself?
Vaccines are available. Discuss with your health professional about which vaccine is best for you.

The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.

Everyone should:
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.

Avoid close contact.
Inside your home: Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Outside your home: Put at least 1 to 2 metres of distance between yourself and people who don’t live in your household. Avoid crowded places.

Wear a mask.
Cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others. You can spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick. The mask is meant to protect other people in case you are infected.
Everyone should wear a mask in public settings and when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.

Cover coughs and sneezes.
Always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow and do not spit. Throw used tissues in the trash.

Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.

Monitor your health daily.


More information
WHO. Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public