What Is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is the illness that presents on being infected by a deadly coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2. This SARS-related virus was first identified in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019. Snakes were originally suspected as a potential source for the outbreak, though other experts have deemed this unlikely and proposed bats as a reservoir instead. Pangolins have been implicated as a potential link in the transfer chain. COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus that has not been previously identified in humans. The COVID-19 is the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, Hubei province, China. Since December 2019, cases have been identified in a growing number of countries.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are known to cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).
Symptoms of COVID-19
The most important symptoms of COVID-19 are recent onset of any of the following:
- a new continuous cough
- a high temperature
- a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell
Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases.
Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure:
- New loss of taste or smell
- Repeated shaking with chills
How to Protect Yourself from COVID-19
- Wash your hands regularly and cover coughs and sneezes.
- Wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitiser regularly throughout the day. Regular hand washing is an effective way to reduce your risk of catching illnesses, including COVID-19.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if you have symptoms of acute respiratory illness.
- Stay home from work or school until you are free of fever, signs of a fever, and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours and without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medications.
- Wear a face covering when going in a crowded place or indoor with strangers.
- Seek medical attention if you have reason to believe you have been exposed to coronavirus or influenza. Call your healthcare provider before visiting a healthcare facility.
- Get vaccinated against this virus.
- Vulnerable people are advised to get booster jabs.
- Limit close contact with other people
- You may choose to limit the close contact you have with people you do not usually live with. You may also choose to take a lateral flow test before being in close contact and also encourage those people you are meeting with to do so, which will help to manage periods of risk.