What is Coronavirus?

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). 

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is a new strain that was discovered in 2019 and has not been previously identified in humans.

Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people.  Detailed investigations found that SARS-CoV was transmitted from civet cats to humans and MERS-CoV from dromedary camels to humans. Several known coronaviruses are circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans. 

Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death. 

Standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, thoroughly cooking meat and eggs. Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.

How to protect yourself?

Take care of your health and protect others by doing the following:

  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Maintain social distancing
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
  • Practice respiratory hygiene
  • If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early
  • Stay informed and follow advice given by your healthcare provider

Protection measures for persons who are in or have recently visited (past 14 days) areas where COVID-19 is spreading

Fever screenings is in place at international airports. Procedures are in place for case detection, isolation and management for quick diagnosis to be made. All health facilities will be able to manage suspected or confirmed cases and refer to the appropriate referral or designated hospital. Protocols are in place for follow up of case contacts to ensure that the virus does not spread.

Contact the General Public Hotline 0800 029 999

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