Novel Coronavirus Frequently Asked Questions

Novel Coronavirus / COVID – 19 Basics

Q: What is Novel Coronavirus / COVID – 19?

A: Novel Coronavirus / COVID – 19 is a type of virus that was first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China in December 2019 and has since spread among human beings to various countries across the world.

The virus is related to SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome.) Public health experts are closely monitoring this new virus and it has the potential to cause severe illness and pneumonia in some people, especially the elderly.

Q: How does Novel Coronavirus / COVID – 19 spread and what are the symptoms?

A: Novel Coronavirus / COVID – 19 is primarily spread through respiratory droplets. This means that to become infected, you must come into physical contact with these droplets issued by someone who is contagious. It may also be possible that a person can get Novel Coronavirus / 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 why people are being dissuaded from touching their faces and to frequently hand wash but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. Symptoms of Novel Coronavirus / COVID – 19 appear within two to fourteen days after exposure and include fever, cough, runny nose and difficulty breathing.

Q: How long does it take for symptoms of the Novel Coronavirus / COVID – 19 to show in an infected person?

A: WHO believes that symptoms of Novel Coronavirus / COVID – 19 may appear in as few as two days, or as long as 14 days after exposure. To be cautious, many governments are requiring an isolation period of a minimum 14 days for individuals returning from endemic areas.

Q: Can Novel Coronavirus / COVID – 19 treated?

A: There is currently no approved drug medication for Novel Coronavirus / COVID – 19. People infected with this virus should receive supportive treatment care including rest, fluids and fever control, to help relieve the symptoms. For severe cases, treatment should include care to support vital organ functions such as the heart, kidneys and liver.


Preventing Novel Coronavirus / COVID – 19

Q: Is there a vaccine?

A: There is no vaccine currently available.

Q: How can I best protect myself?

A: Follow the guidelines below:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for a minimum of 15-20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact (within 2 meters) with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw away the tissue.
  • Regularly clean and sanitize household and office surfaces.

Q: Should I wear a face mask? Will that help protect me?

A:  If you are sick: You should wear a facemask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or public transport vehicle) and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office. If you are not able to wear a facemask (for example, because you find it difficult to breather when wearing one), then you should do your best to cover your coughs and sneezes, and people who are caring for you should wear a facemask if they enter your room.

If you are not sick: You do not need to wear a facemask unless you are caring for someone who is sick (and they are not able to wear a facemask). Facemasks may be in short supply and they should be saved for caregivers.


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