The responses to the following frequently asked questions contain useful information issued by the World Health Organization and is intended to inform about COVID-19. The UWI, CARPHA, WHO, and Ministries of Health across the region are all reliable sources of information regarding COVID-19.
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. This new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhoea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don’t feel unwell.
Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment. Around 1 out of every 6 people who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness. About 2% of people with the disease have died. People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention.
How is COVID-19 spread?
People can catch COVID-19 from others who have the virus. The disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs, sneezes or exhales. These droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person. Other people then catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. People can also catch COVID-19 if they breathe in droplets from a person with COVID-19 who coughs out or exhales droplets. This is why it is important to stay more than 1 metre (3 feet) away from a person who shows flu-like symptoms.
Should I wear a mask?
People with no respiratory symptoms, such as the cough, do not need to wear a medical mask. WHO recommends the use of masks for people who have symptoms of COVID-19 and for those caring for individuals who have symptoms, such as cough and fever. The use of masks is crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone (at home or in a health care facility).
The most effective ways to protect yourself and others against COVID-19 are to frequently clean your hands, cover your cough with the bend of elbow or tissue (which should be discarded immediately), and maintain a distance of at least 1 metre (3 feet) from people who are coughing or sneezing.
Some World Health Organization (WHO) tips for minimising risk (this will be accompanied by pictures):
- Clean hands reduces risk. Wash/Clean your hands frequently with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rubs (minimum 60% of alcohol).
- Avoid touching your face.
- Clean/sanitise your work areas with disinfectants regularly (desks etc.).
- Keep yourself informed from reliable sources and avoid the spread of false information. (Reliable sources include The UWI, CARPHA, WHO, Ministries of Health).
- Avoid travelling if you have a fever and cough; seek medical attention if required.
- Manage your coughs and sneezes. Cough or sneeze into your sleeve or a tissue. Dispose of tissues immediately and wash/clean your hands.
- The elderly or persons with cardiovascular disease, diabetes or respiratory conditions should avoid crowded places.
- If you have fever and are coughing or sneezing, seek medical attention and stay at home.
- If you are sick and are at home, sleep separately from other family members, use different cutlery and utensils.
- If you develop shortness of breath, seek medical attention immediately.
For a safe and healthy environment,
LOK JACK GSB Leadership Team.