Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that could cause illness in animals or humans. Several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections in humans that range 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.

 

What is COVID-19?

This is the infectious disease that is caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. This new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.

 
 

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are:

  • fever,
  • tiredness, and
  • dry cough.

Some people 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 and don’t develop symptoms and don't feel unwell. Most (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment. Around 1 in every 6 who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develop difficulty in 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.

How does COVID-19 spread?

COVID-19 is spread from those who already have the virus. It 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. The droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person. Other people then catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, and then touch their eyes, nose or mouth.

You can also catch COVID-19 if you 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.

WHO is assessing ongoing research on the ways COVID-19 is spread and will continue to share updated findings.    

 

** Information courtesy of World Health Organisation (WHO)

 

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