COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease) Information

What is COVID-19?

It’s a new respiratory disease which is highly contagious, and it’s mainly spread from person-to-person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is called SARS-CoV-2.

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.

How is COVID-19 SPREAD?

The evidence so far indicates that the virus is spread from person to person through small respiratory droplets that an infected person sneezes or coughs out. These droplets carrying COVID -19 can enter your body through the mucous membranes (wet parts) of your face – your eyes, nose and mouth – which provide a direct pathway to your throat and lungs.

Or the droplets might fall onto a surface when a person coughs or sneezes. If you touch the contaminated surface, and you don’t wash your hands, you could move the virus into your eyes, nose or mouth and become infected. There is also evidence that the COVID-19 virus can last on surfaces – especially plastic or metal – for up to 3 days. Direct membrane-to-membrane contact can also spread the virus. This could happen by kissing. The virus can also be spread by sharing items that go in your mouth, eyes or nose, like cutlery, cups, straws, water bottles or cosmetics.

What are the SYMPTOMS of COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness, which means it affects the parts of your body you use to breathe: your nose, throat and lungs. Your symptoms might include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
COVID-19 symptoms

How can I PROTECT myself and those around me from COVID-19?

  1. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub for at least 20 seconds.
  2. Stay home as much as possible and Maintain social distancing by keeping at least 1.5 metres (three feet) between yourself and anyone as this will prevent you from breathing in small liquid droplets, spread through coughs or sneezes.
  3. Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose, mouth and practise respiratory hygiene by covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or a single-use tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.
  4. Seek medical care or health facility early if you or your family have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing. Calling in advance will protect you and help prevent spread of viruses and other infections.
COVID-19 spread etiquette
Hands Cleaning

What else can I do to make myself less likely to CATCH COVID-19?

Looking after yourself by

  • Eating a healthy, balanced diet
  • Getting regular physical activity of 30 minutes
  • Avoid excessive consumption of alcohol
  • Stop smoking
  • Sleeping well and reducing stress is important all the time

Who is at most risk of CATCHING COVID-19?

EVERYONE is at risk of catching COVID-19. We all have a role to play in keeping ourselves and others well. The more everyone follows the advice to wash their hands often and properly, stay at home as much as possible, and stay home when they’re sick, the fewer people will catch this virus.

Who is at most risk of getting seriously UNWELL from COVID-19?

Those who have already had a underlying NCD health condition like a high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, or are immunocompromised.

What to DO when feeling scared/overwhelmed/worried/anxious?

While there are benefits to staying up to date with the news, too much can take a toll on our mental wellbeing. Here are a few ways to find balance while staying informed during a crisis. All the news headlines, official government press conferences, and stories from other countries, family and friends can seem scary.

  • Read trustworthy news sources Anyone can publish information online, but that doesn’t make it true. During health emergencies, Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization are best placed to provide you with the facts
  • Set news limits If you feel that you’re preoccupied by the news, consider setting yourself reasonable limits. You could:
    • Start your day by reading a book or going for a walk,
    • Avoid checking the news before going to bed,
    • Set a limit on how many times you check the news each day,
    • Delete your social media apps, turn off notifications or download an app that helps you limit social media use.
  • Read good news stories too Positive news doesn’t diminish a crisis, but it can help give us a sense of balance and support our mental wellbeing.
  • Keep perspective Consider what is within your control and focus on what you can do to contribute in a positive way to those around you.
  • Children may need help to understand what’s going on in a way that’s appropriate for their age and development.
    • Limit the amount of media coverage children see, hear and read
    • If they do watch the news, be there to explain it to them
    • Let them know they can ask you questions anytime
    • Be honest and stick to the facts but don’t provide too much detail
    • Be aware of what you say when children are around
    • Monitor their reactions, and listen to how they feel and what they think
    • Point out the people working to fix the situation
    • Reassure them that they are safe.