FAQ

What is a novel coronavirus?

A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.


How does COVID-19 spread?

People can catch COVID-19 from others who have the virus. The disease spreads primarily from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth, which are expelled when a person with COVID-19 coughs, sneezes, or speaks. These droplets are relatively heavy, do not travel far and quickly sink to the ground. People can catch COVID-19 if they breathe in these droplets from a person infected with the virus. This is why it is important to stay at least 1 metre (3 feet) away from others. These droplets can land on objects and surfaces around the person such as tables, doorknobs and handrails. People can become infected by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. This is why it is important to wash your hands regularly with soap and water or clean with alcohol-based hand rub.


What is the recovery time for the coronavirus disease?

Using available preliminary data, the median time from onset to clinical recovery for mild cases is approximately 2 weeks and is 3-6 weeks for patients with severe or critical disease. Preliminary data suggests that the time period from onset to the development of severe disease, including hypoxia, is 1 week. Among patients who have died, the time from symptom onset to outcome ranges from 2-8 weeks


What is the incubation period of the coronavirus disease?

The incubation period of the virus is the time between the exposure and the display of symptoms. Current information suggests that the incubation period ranges from 1 to 12.5 days (with median estimates of 5 to 6 days), but can be as long as 14 days.


Can you contract the coronavirus disease by touching a surface?

A person can possibly get COVID-19 by touching a surface or an object (e.g. doorknobs and table) that has the virus on it and then touching his own mouth, nose, or eyes.


Is coronavirus the same as SARS?

No. The virus that causes COVID-19 and the one that caused the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003 are related to each other genetically, but the diseases they cause are quite different. SARS was more deadly but much less infectious than COVID-19. There have been no outbreaks of SARS anywhere in the world since 2003.


Can the coronavirus disease be transmitted in hot or humid climates?

From the evidence so far, the COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in ALL AREAS, including areas with hot and humid weather. Regardless of climate, adopt protective measures if you live in, or travel to an area reporting COVID-19. The best way to protect yourself against COVID-19 is by frequently cleaning your hands. By doing this you eliminate viruses that may be on your hands and avoid infection that could occur by then touching your eyes, mouth, and nose.


What happens when you get the coronavirus disease?

People with COVID-19 generally develop signs and symptoms, including mild respiratory symptoms and fever, on an average of 5-6 days after infection (mean incubation period 5-6 days, range 1-14 days). Most people infected with COVID-19 virus have mild disease and recover.


What is the treatment for the coronavirus disease?

There is no specific treatment for disease caused by a novel coronavirus. However, many of the symptoms can be treated and therefore treatment based on the patient's clinical condition.


Who is at risk for coronavirus?

The virus that causes COVID-19 infects people of all ages. However, evidence to date suggests that two groups of people are at a higher risk of getting severe COVID-19 disease. These are older people (that is people over 60 years old); and those with underlying medical conditions (such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer). The risk of severe disease gradually increases with age starting from around 40 years. It's important that adults in this age range protect themselves and in turn protect others that may be more vulnerable.

WHO has issued advice for these two groups and for community support to ensure that they are protected from COVID-19 without being isolated, stigmatized, left in a position of increased vulnerability or unable to access basic provisions and social care.


Is there a vaccine for the coronavirus disease?

When a disease is new, there is no vaccine until one is developed. It can take a number of years for a new vaccine to be developed.


Are special hospitals needed for COVID-19 patients?

No. Current WHO recommendations do not include a requirement for exclusive use of specialized or referral hospitals to treat suspected or confirmed 2019-nCoV acute respiratory disease patients. However, countries or local jurisdictions may choose to care for patients at such hospitals if those are deemed the most likely to be able to safely care for patients with suspected or confirmed 2019-nCoV infection or for other clinical reasons (e.g., availability of advanced life support). Regardless, any healthcare facility treating patients with suspected or confirmed 2019-nCoV patients should adhere to the WHO infection prevention and control recommendations for healthcare to protect patients, staff and visitors.


How long does the virus survive on surfaces?

The most important thing to know about coronavirus on surfaces is that they can easily be cleaned with common household disinfectants that will kill the virus. Studies have shown that the COVID-19 virus can survive for up to 72 hours on plastic and stainless steel, less than 4 hours on copper and less than 24 hours on cardboard.

As, always clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, or nose.


How to shop for groceries in a store safely?

When grocery shopping, keep at least 1-metre distance from others and avoid touching your eyes, mouth and nose. If possible, sanitize the handles of shopping trolleys or baskets before shopping. Once home, wash your hands thoroughly and also after handling and storing your purchased products.

There is currently no confirmed case of COVID-19 transmitted through food or food packaging.


How to wash fruits and vegetables?

Fruits and vegetables are important components of a healthy diet. Wash them the same way you should do under any circumstance: before handling them, wash your hands with soap and water. Then, wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly with clean water, especially if you eat them raw.