Countries around the world are stepping up efforts to halt the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
As of March 29, more than 26,000 people have died worldwide by this highly infectious respiratory disease. Over 575,000 people have tested positive for Covid-19, according to World Health Organization (WHO).
What is a coronavirus?
According to WHO, coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus. 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).
What are the symptoms?
The COVID-19 virus affects different people in different ways. It is a respiratory disease and most infected people will develop mild to moderate symptoms and recover without requiring special treatment. People who have underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness, and those over 60 years old have a higher risk of developing severe disease and death.
Current estimates of the incubation period - the time between infection and the onset of symptoms - range from one to 14 days. Most infected people show symptoms within five to six days. However, infected patients can also be asymptomatic, meaning they do not display any symptoms despite having the virus in their systems.
How to prevent the spread of the disease?
The best way to prevent and slow down transmission is to be well informed about the COVID-19 virus, the disease it causes and how it spreads. Protect yourself and others from infection by doing 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.
At this time, there are no specific vaccines or treatments for COVID-19. However, there are many ongoing clinical trials evaluating potential treatments.