Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a new virus.
The disease causes respiratory illness (like the flu) with symptoms such as a cough, fever, and in more severe cases, difficulty breathing. You can protect yourself by washing your hands frequently, avoiding touching your face, and avoiding close contact (1 meter or 3 feet) with people who are unwell.
How it spreads
Coronavirus disease spreads primarily through contact with an infected person when they cough or sneeze. It also spreads when a person touches a surface or object that has the virus on it, then touches their eyes, nose, or mouth.
People may be sick with the virus for 1 to 14 days before developing symptoms. The most common symptoms of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment.
More rarely, the disease can be serious and even fatal. Older people, and people with other medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease), may be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill.
People may experience:
• difficulty breathing (severe cases)
There’s currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
You can protect yourself and help prevent spreading the virus to others if you:
• Wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds, with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub
• Cover your nose and mouth with a disposable tissue or flexed elbow when you cough or sneeze
• Avoid close contact (1 meter or 3 feet) with people who are unwell
• Stay home and self-isolate from others in the household if you feel unwell
• Touch your eyes, nose, or mouth if your hands are not clean
There is no specific medicine to prevent or treat coronavirus disease (COVID-19). People may need supportive care to help them breathe.
If you develop a fever, cough, and have difficulty breathing, promptly seek medical care. Call in advance and tell your doctor or health care provider of any recent travel or recent contact with travelers.
Saftey And Prevention Tips
Washing Your Hands
Washing your hands is the best way to help you stay healthy. Here’s how to do it. Wet your hands with clean running water. Turn off the tap and apply soap.
Lather your hands by rubbing them together. Get the backs of your hands, between your fingers and under your nails.
Scrub your hands for 20 seconds. Sing “Happy Birthday” twice while washing to gauge your timing.
Rinse your hands under clean running water. Air dry or use a clean towel.
No soap or water? Use hand sanitiser that contains at least 60 per cent alcohol. Apply the gel to the palm of one hand. Rub your hands together over all your hands’ surfaces and fingers until your hands are dry.
Moisturise your hands to prevent yourself from getting cracked skin.
In addition to washing your hands regularly, it is also a good idea to avoid touching your face and eyes.
Avoid physical contact with other people.
Stay at least two metres away from people when outside your house. This includes friends or loved ones. Same goes for other people’s pets.
Do not invite guests to your home.
Avoid groups and crowds.
In places where physical distancing might be difficult, like the supermarket or pharmacy, do your best to stay two metres away from others. Wear a cloth face covering.
Physical distancing does not mean you should not talk to others. Make sure you stay connected with your friends, family and neighbours. Call, video chat, or stay connected using social media.
Stay home for 14 days after your suspected exposure.
Monitor your symptoms. Contact your doctor immediately if symptoms develop.
Try to minimise contact with others, including household members and pets. Be particularly mindful of staying away from those who are high risk for getting very sick from COVID‑19.
Wash your hands frequently.
If you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue. Discard the tissue and immediately wash your hands.
Avoid sharing personal items such as dishes, towels and bedding with other people in your house.
Clean and disinfect frequently used surfaces often, such as doorknobs and countertops.
Have a household member or friend run errands for you, such as picking up groceries or prescriptions, or get items delivered. If you do have to go out, practise physical distancing.
If you develop emergency warning signs, seek emergency care right away. These signs include: severe, constant chest pain or pressure; extreme difficulty breathing; severe, constant lightheadedness; or serious disorientation or unresponsiveness.
Have your medical provider’s contact information to hand.
Keep a log of your symptoms, including your temperature.
If your symptoms worsen, call your doctor to update them and they will tell you what to do next.
You can use our Screening Tool to help you determine next steps based on your symptoms and risk factors.
Cleaning & Disinfecting Surfaces
It is always a good idea to routinely clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces like tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, taps and sinks. But if you have a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19, be vigilant about doing this daily.
First, clean dirty surfaces with soap and water. Cleaning will remove dirt and lower the number of germs—but it will not kill germs.
Next, disinfect surfaces to kill germs. Disinfecting after cleaning can further lower the risk of spreading an infection. Most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work. Or dilute your household bleach with 1/3 of a cup of bleach per gallon of water.
Wear dedicated gloves for COVID-19 related cleaning and disinfecting or use disposable gloves and discard them after each use.
Wearing A Cloth Face Covering
Using a cloth mask can protect yourself and others from germs and help slow the spread.
Buy a cloth face mask. If you cannot find one, improvise. Create a mask from a tightly-woven cotton garment, like sheets or a bandana; Tee‑shirt fabric will work in a pinch. Tap the button below to view the CDC’s full instructions.
Ensure your mask has multiple layers of fabric and fits snugly but comfortably against the side of your face. It should have ear loops or tie in the back.
Wear your mask in public, especially in places where it is hard to practise physical distancing, such as supermarkets or pharmacies.
When you remove the mask, take it off carefully without touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Wash your hands immediately.
To sanitise your mask, routinely wash it in the washing machine in hot water.
Do not use a cloth mask on children under the age of two, anyone who has trouble breathing or on someone who cannot voluntarily take the mask off.
Do not use surgical or N95 masks. Healthcare workers and other medical first responders need these masks for protection.
If you are an essential worker who has been directly exposed to COVID‑19 or has had direct contact with someone known to have COVID‑19, wear a face mask at work for 14 days after exposure.