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What is COVID-19?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans.

In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. The most recently discovered coronavirus causes coronavirus disease COVID-19.

This new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.

Source: World Health Organisation

How did the coronavirus start?

On 7 January 2020, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was confirmed as the causative agent of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

The majority of the case-patients initially identified were dealers and vendors at Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market - a seafood, poultry and live wildlife market in Jianghan District of Hubei Province.

This suggests that the novel coronavirus has a possible zoonotic origin.

However, there has been an ongoing sustained transmission of COVID-19 in countries to date. The specific source of the virus is not yet known.

Source: NCID

How is coronavirus spread?

The COVID-19 spreads mainly via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Through close personal contact such as touching or shaking hands. Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands.

Because the virus is spread through the air it is important to stay more than 1-2 meters (3-6 feet) away from a person who is sick.

Source: NCID

How many people have died from coronavirus?

To track the latest developments around the coronavirus both in South Africa and abroad, click on this live status report from Strategix.

What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

Current symptoms reported for patients with COVID-19 have included mild to severe respiratory illness with cough, sore throat, shortness of breath or fever [≥ 38°C (measured) or history of fever (subjective).

The complete clinical picture with regard to COVID-19 is still not fully clear.

Reported illnesses have ranged from infected people with little to no symptoms to people being severely ill and dying.

Source: NCID

How do I protect myself?

You can reduce your chances of being infected or spreading COVID-19 by taking some simple precautions:

  • Regularly and thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water or clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub for at least 20 seconds. Wash hands often, especially before handling food/ after using toilet or coughing/ sneezing.

  • Cover your cough or sneeze in the bend of the elbow or with a tissue, once used throw away and wash your hands.

  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

  • Wearing a mask is unlikely to protect you if you are well. People who are coughing and

  • Sneezing who wear a mask (surgical mask fine, N95 not necessary) are less likely to infect others.

  • Stay home if you feel unwell.

Source: WC Department of Health

How many cases of coronavirus in South Africa?

To track the latest developments around the coronavirus both in South Africa and abroad, click on this live status report from Strategix.

How do I go about getting a test?

If you have access to private healthcare call your general doctor/ local health facility or NICD Hotline on 0800 029 999 or the Provincial Hotline on 021 928 4102.

Explain your symptoms and where you have travelled or with whom you have had contact.

If you use public healthcare call your local health facility or NICD Hotline on 0800 029 999 or the Provincial Hotline on 021 928 4102. You will receive advice on what to do.

If you are unable to make a call, go to your local facility. Before you enter the facility alert staff that you are concerned you have COVID-19.

Expect to be asked to put on a face mask. You will be asked to wait separately from other patients until a health worker can help you.

Source: WC Department of Health

Where is the coronavirus?

To track the latest developments around the coronavirus both in South Africa and abroad, click on this live status report from Strategix.

Is there a cure for coronavirus?

Not yet. To date, there is no vaccine and no specific antiviral medicine to prevent or treat COVID-2019. However, those affected should receive care to relieve symptoms. People with serious illness should be hospitalized. Most patients recover thanks to supportive care.

Possible vaccines and some specific drug treatments are under investigation.

Source: World Health Organisation

Who do I contact if I am unsure?

The Public Hotline on 0800 029 999.
Provincial Hotline on 021 021 928 4102
Send an email to doh.dismed@westerncape.gov.za
Send “Hi” to 060 012 3456 on WhatsApp

Image Source: Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

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