Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Coronavirus particle

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).

Coronavirus around the world, also known as:

  • 2019-nCoV acute respiratory disease;
  • Novel coronavirus pneumonia;
  • Wuhan pneumonia;
  • Wuhan coronavirus;
  • Misspelled like corona virus, corona-virus, corono virus, coronovirus or coronavairus.

The disease was first identified in 2019 in Wuhan, the capital of China's Hubei province, and has since spread globally, resulting in the ongoing 2019–2020 coronavirus pandemic. Common symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Other symptoms may include muscle pain, sputum production, diarrhoea, sore throat, loss of smell, and abdominal pain.

Most people infected with the new coronavirus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness. While the majority of cases result in mild symptoms, some progress to pneumonia and multi-organ failure.

The best way to prevent and slow down transmission is to be well informed about the COVID 19 virus, the disease it causes and how it spreads. Protect yourself and others from infection by washing your hands or using an alcohol based hand sanitizer frequently and not touching your face.

The COVID-19 virus spreads primarily through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose when an infected person coughs or sneezes, so it’s important that you also practice respiratory etiquette (for example, by coughing into a flexed elbow).

Respiratory droplets may be produced during breathing but the virus is not generally airborne. People may also contract COVID19 by touching a contaminated surface and then their face. It is most contagious when people are symptomatic, although spread may be possible before symptoms appear. The virus can survive on surfaces up to 72 hours. Time from exposure to onset of symptoms is generally 2-14 days, with an average of 5 days. The standard method of diagnosis is by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) from a nasopharyngeal swab. The infection can also be diagnosed from a combination of symptoms, risk factors and a chest CT scan showing features of pneumonia.

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the 2019–2020 coronavirus outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) on 30 January 2020 and a pandemic on 11 March 2020.

Can coronavirus be cured? At this time, there are no specific vaccines or treatments for COVID-19. However, there are many ongoing clinical trials evaluating potential treatments. We will continue to provide updated information as soon as clinical findings become available.