Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people.
A novel coronavirus is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. The 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a virus identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China. Early on, many of the patients in the outbreak in Wuhan, China reportedly had some link to a large seafood and animal market, suggesting animal-to-person spread. However, a growing number of patients reportedly have not had exposure to animal markets, which indicates that person-to-person spread is occurring.
How does the virus spread?
COVID-19 spreads quickly, through:
- coughing or sneezing – people could catch COVID-19 if they are standing within one metre of a person who has the illness, by breathing in droplets coughed out or exhaled by the ill person;
- close personal contact, such as when shaking hands or touching others;
- touching an object or surface on which the virus is found (after an ill person coughs or exhales close to these objects or surfaces such as desks, tables or telephones), then - before washing the hands – touching the mouth, nose, or eyes.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19 infection?
The primary symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
When should individuals consult with their healthcare provider?
Doctors can only treat the symptoms of COVID-19 as they present. No specific therapy has been shown to be effective against the virus itself. If you feel ill and have any of the symptoms of infection with COVID-19 you must seek medical care early and share your previous travel history with your healthcare provider.
People who contract the COVID-19 may take anywhere from one to 14 days to develop symptoms. Even if you do not have a history of travel to a COVID-19-affected region, or contact with an individual who has acquired the illness, you must still inform your healthcare provider if you experience the symptoms of COVID-19.
“The global outbreak has proven that no country or citizen is immune to the spread of coronavirus 2019. However, we are confident in our country’s ability to manage the first local case of COVID-19 and further cases as they present.”