As of March 2020, the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has been declared and the virus has spread to many countries and territories. While COVID-19 continues to spread, it is important that communities take action to prevent further transmission, reduce the impacts of the outbreak and support control measures.
Understand basic information about coronavirus disease (COVID-19), including its symptoms, complications, how it is transmitted and how to prevent transmission. Stay informed about COVID-19 through reputable sources such as UNICEF and WHO, and Ministry of Health & Family Welfare - India.
Public health measures are critical to slow the spread of illnesses and preventive actions that include:
Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.
Covering mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue when coughing or sneezing. Dispose used tissue immediately.
Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily.
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is a disease caused by a new strain of coronavirus. ‘CO’ stands for corona, ‘VI’ for virus, and ‘D’ for disease.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Symptoms can include fever, cough and shortness of breath. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia or breathing difficulties. More rarely, the disease can be fatal. These symptoms are similar to the flu (influenza) or the common cold, which are a lot more common than COVID-19. So, testing is required to confirm if someone has COVID-19.
How does COVID-19 spread?
The virus is transmitted through direct contact with respiratory droplets of an infected person (generated through coughing and sneezing). Individuals can also be infected from and touching surfaces contaminated with the virus and touching their face (e.g., eyes, nose, mouth). The COVID-19 virus may survive on surfaces for several hours, but simple disinfectants can kill it.
Who is most at risk?
Older people, and people with chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease, appear to be more at risk of developing severe symptoms. As this is a new virus, we are still learning about how it affects children. We know it is possible for people of any age to be infected with the virus, but so far there are relatively few cases of COVID-19 reported among children. This is a new virus and we need to learn more about how it affects children. The virus can be fatal in rare cases, so far mainly among older people with pre-existing medical conditions.
What is the treatment for COVID-19?
There is no currently available vaccine for COVID-19. However, many of the symptoms can be treated and getting early care from a healthcare provider can make the disease less dangerous. There are several clinical trials that are being conducted to evaluate potential therapeutics for COVID-19.