Novel Coronavirus FAQ
At present the exact source of infection of 2019 nCoV has not been identified. Coronavirus are a large family of viruses, some causing illness in people and others that circulate among animals. Initially many of the patients in the outbreak in Wuhan, China reportedly had some link to large seafood and animal markets, suggesting the virus likely emerged from an animal source.
The specific modes of transmission are not clear yet since it is a novel virus. This virus probably originally emerged from an animal source but now seems to be spreading from person-to-person. It is not clear yet how easily 2019 nCoV spreads from person to person. It may spread through droplets, mainly when an infected person coughs or sneezes and another person in close vicinity may get the virus. It may also spread through fomites, (i.e. objects or materials which are likely to carry infection, such as clothes, utensils, and furniture) when an infected person touches these surfaces. Later when an uninfected person touches these surfaces, he/she can come in contact with the virus and get the disease.
Currently there is no vaccine available to protect against 2019 novel Coronavirus. Not yet. To date, there is no vaccine and no specific antiviral medicine to prevent or treat COVID-2019. However, those affected should receive care to relieve symptoms. People with serious illness should be hospitalized. Most patients recover thanks to supportive care. Possible vaccines and some specific drug treatments are under investigation. They are being tested through clinical trials. WHO is coordinating efforts to develop vaccines and medicines to prevent and treat COVID-19.
No. Antibiotics do not work against viruses, they only work on bacterial infections. COVID-19 is caused by a virus, so antibiotics do not work. Antibiotics should not be used as a means of prevention or treatment of COVID-19. They should only be used as directed by a physician to treat a bacterial infection.
As of now, there is no specific antiviral treatment available for 2019 novel Coronavirus infection. People infected with 2019 novel Coronavirus should receive supportive care and symptomatic treatment to help relieve symptoms. Severe cases may however need intensive care.
There is currently no vaccine to prevent 2019 nCoV infection. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus.
- All non essential travel to be avoided
- Observe good personal hygiene
- Practice frequent handwashing with soap
- Cover your mouth when coughing and sneezing
The list of affected countries is available on WHO website ( www.who.int ) and would be updated time to time.
Self monitor your health starting from the day of last contact with such a case and continue for 28 days. Watch for the development of acute onset of signs and symptoms:
– Shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing
If you observe any of the above symptoms visit the nearest health facility for further advice and treatment. If possible, you may contact your physician over the telephone.
Observe strict home isolation to prevent spread of the disease to other people. Further you must furnish the details of exposure of such patients to your health care worker.
As per the current guidelines, you should be tested only if you have the symptoms of COVID-19 (cough, cold or fever) along with a history of travel to affected countries or a history of contact with a diagnosed case of COVID-19. If you are a health care worker and have any symptoms, you may be tested for COVID-19. In case you have any symptoms, you may contact your physician. However, the final decision to test you will lie with the physician and competent authorities.
No. Disposable medical face masks are intended for a single use only. After use they should be removed using appropriate techniques (i.e. do not touch the front, remove by pulling the elastic ear straps or laces from behind) and disposed of immediately in an infectious waste bin with a lid, followed by hand hygiene.
No. WHO does not recommend that asymptomatic individuals (i.e., who do not have respiratory symptoms) in the community should wear medical masks, as currently there is no evidence that routine use of medical masks by healthy individuals prevents 2019-nCoV transmission. Masks are recommended to be used by symptomatic persons in the community. Misuse and overuse of medical masks may cause serious issues of shortage of stocks and lack of mask availability for those who actually need to wear them.
In health care facilities where health care workers are directly taking care of suspected or confirmed 2019-nCoV acute respiratory disease patients, masks are an important part of containing 2019-nCoV spread between people, along with other PPE and hand hygiene. Click here to know more.
There is currently no data available on stability of 2019-nCoV on surfaces. Data from laboratory studies on SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV have shown that stability in the environment depends on several factors including relative temperature, humidity, and surface type. WHO continues to monitor existing evidence around nCoV and will update when such evidence is available.
|SURFACE||LIFESPAN OF COVID-19|
|Stainless Steel||2-3 days|
|Polypropylene plastic||3 days|
Q.14 Are there special procedures for the management of bodies of persons who have died from 2019-nCoV infection?
Autopsy – Should be avoided
- The personnel handling the body may follow standard precautions (surgical mask, gloves).
- The vehicle, after the transfer of the body to cremation/ burial staff, will be decontaminated with 1% Sodium Hypochlorite.
At the crematorium/ Burial Ground
- The Crematorium/ burial Ground staff should be sensitized that COVID 19 does
not pose additional risk.
- The ash does not pose any risk and can be collected to perform the last rites.
- Large gatherings at the crematorium/ burial ground should be avoided as a social distancing measure as it is possible that close family contacts may be symptomatic and/ or shedding the virus.
All non essential travel is to be avoided. If the travel is unavoidable, at all times, follow the simple public health measures:
- Observe good personal hygiene
- Monitor your health closely
- Seek medical attention promptly
- If you feel sick during travel, inform airline crew about your illness and seek mask from the airline crew
- For further details kindly check travel advisory issued by the MoHFW, GOI available on website (www.mohfw.gov.in)
COVID-19 and Pregnancy, Childbirth and Breastfeeding
At present there is no evidence that they are at higher risk of severe illness than the general population. However, due to changes in their bodies and immune systems, we know that pregnant women can be badly affected by some infections. It is therefore important that they take precautions to protect themselves against COVID-19, and report possible symptoms (including fever, cough or difficulty breathing) to their healthcare provider.
Pregnant women should take the same precautions to avoid COVID-19 infection as other people.
You can help protect yourself by:
a. Washing your hands frequently with soap and water.
b. Keeping space between yourselves and others and avoiding crowded spaces.
c. Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
d. Practicing respiratory hygiene . This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.
If you have fever, cough or difficulty breathing, seek medical care early. Call before going to a health facility, and follow the directions of your local health authority. Pregnant women and women who have recently delivered – including those affected by COVID-19 should attend their routine care appointments.
Q.6 Do pregnant women with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 need to give birth by caesarean section?
Yes. Close contact and early, exclusive breastfeeding helps a baby to thrive. You should be supported to:
a. Breastfeed safely, with good respiratory hygiene;
b. Hold your newborn skin-to-skin, and
c. Share a room with your baby
You should wash your hands before and after touching your baby, and keep all surfaces clean.
If you are too unwell to breastfeed your baby due to COVID-19 or other complications, you should be supported to safely provide your baby with breastmilk in a way possible, available, and acceptable to you. This could include: Expressing milk; Relactation; Donor human milk.
Facts and Myths
Fact – The COVID 19 virus can be transmitted in ALL AREAS including areas with hot and humid weather. The best way to protect yourself against COVID-19 is by frequently washing your hands with soap and water, covering your coughs and sneezes and avoiding crowded places.
Fact – Spraying with alcohol or sanitizer on clothes and body or consuming alcohol will not prevent you from getting the infection. Infection spreads when the virus enters the body through the nose or mouth. Cleaning and wiping hands with alcohol is to prevent the germ from entering your system through infected hands when you touch or you eat food with infected hands.
The risk of catching COVID-19 from someone with no symptoms at all is very low. However, many people with COVID-19 experience only mild symptoms. This is particularly true at the early stages of the disease. It is therefore possible to catch COVID-19 from someone who has, for example, just a mild cough and does not feel ill. WHO is assessing ongoing research on the period of transmission of COVID-19 and will continue to share updated findings.
The risk of catching COVID-19 from the feces of an infected person appears to be low. While initial investigations suggest the virus may be present in feces in some cases, spread through this route is not a main feature of the outbreak. WHO is assessing ongoing research on the ways COVID-19 is spread and will continue to share new findings. Because this is a risk, however, it is another reason to clean hands regularly, after using the bathroom and before eating.
Illness due to COVID-19 infection is generally mild, especially for children and young adults. However, it can cause serious illness: about 1 in every 5 people who catch it need hospital care. It is therefore quite normal for people to worry about how the COVID-19 outbreak will affect them and their loved ones.
While there has been one instance of a dog being infected in Hong Kong, to date, there is no evidence that a dog, cat or any pet can transmit COVID-19. COVID-19 is mainly spread through droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or speaks. To protect yourself, clean your hands frequently and thoroughly.
WHO continues to monitor the latest research on this and other COVID-19 topics and will update as new findings are available.