1. What is Coronavirus?

Ans. Coronaviruses are an extremely common cause of colds and other upper respiratory infections. They are a family of viruses that range from the common cold to MERS coronavirus, which is Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus and SARs, Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus. 

2. What is COVID-19?

Ans. COVID-19, short for “coronavirus disease 2019,” is the official name given by the World Health Organization to the disease caused by this newly identified coronavirus called novel coronavirus. This new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. 

3. What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Ans. 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 get 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. People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention.

4. What to do if I have symptoms for COVID-19?

Ans. If you have the signs/symptoms please call State helpline number or Ministry of Health & Family Welfare’s 24X7 helpline at 011-23978046. You can find all the state helpline numbers here. 

5. How is COVID-19 diagnosed?

Ans. Diagnosis may be difficult with only a physical exam because mild cases of COVID-19 may appear similar to the flu or a bad cold. A laboratory test can confirm the diagnosis.

6. Where can I get tested for COVID-19?

Ans. The Indian Council of Medical Research recently posted the list of governmental laboratories testing for COVID-19 in all the states across the country. Additionally, there are 35 private laboratories across India. 

7. How is COVID-19 spread?

Ans. 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 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 meter (3 feet) away from a person who is sick.

WHO is assessing ongoing research on the ways COVID-19 is spread and will continue to share updated findings.    

8. Can the virus that causes COVID-19 be transmitted through the air?

Ans. Studies to date suggest that the virus that causes COVID-19 is mainly transmitted through contact with respiratory droplets rather than through the air. 

9. How can I protect myself from the novel coronavirus?

Ans. You can reduce your chances of being infected or spreading COVID-19 by taking some simple precautions:

  • Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Why? Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.
  • Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing. Why? When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain the virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth. Why? Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.
  • Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good 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. Why? Droplets spread the virus. By following good respiratory hygiene you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19.
  • Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority. Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on the situation in your area. Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also protect you and help prevent the spread of viruses and other infections.
  • Keep up to date on the latest COVID-19 hotspots (cities or local areas where COVID-19 is spreading widely). If possible, avoid travelling to places – especially if you are an older person or have diabetes, heart or lung disease. Why? You have a higher chance of catching COVID-19 in one of these areas.

10. Should I be scared of COVID-19?

Ans. 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.

We can channel our concerns into actions to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our communities. First and foremost among these actions is regular and thorough hand-washing and good respiratory hygiene. Secondly, keep informed and follow the advice of the local health authorities including any restrictions put in place on travel, movement and gatherings.

11. Should I be wearing masks?

Ans. Only wear a mask if you are ill with COVID-19 symptoms (especially coughing) or looking after someone who may have COVID-19. A disposable face mask can only be used once. If you are not ill or looking after someone who is ill then you are wasting a mask. There is a world-wide shortage of masks, so WHO urges people to use masks wisely.

12. Will warm weather stop the outbreak of COVID-19?

Ans. Some viruses, like the common cold and flu, spread more when the weather is colder. But it is still possible to become sick with these viruses during warmer months. At this time, we do not know whether the spread of COVID-19 will decrease when the weather warms up.

13. Should I accept packages from China?

Ans. There is no reason to suspect that packages from China harbour coronavirus. Remember, this is a respiratory virus similar to the flu. We don’t stop receiving packages from China during their flu season. We should follow that same logic for the virus that causes COVID-19.

14. Can I catch COVID-19 from my pets? 

Ans. 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. 

15. Is COVID-19 airborne?

Ans. The virus that causes COVID-19 is mainly transmitted through droplets generated when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or speaks. These droplets are too heavy to hang in the air. They quickly fall on floors or surfaces. 

You can be infected by breathing in the virus if you are within 1 metre of a person who has COVID-19, or by touching a contaminated surface and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth before washing your hands.

16. What is the incubation period for COVID-19?

Ans. It appears that symptoms are showing up in people within 14 days of exposure to the virus.

17. Does COVID-19 cause death?

Ans. As of Mar. 31, 2020, 38,714 deaths have been attributed to COVID-19. However, 170,325 people have recovered from the illness. 

Regarding the fatality rate, it appears that the risk of death with the pandemic coronavirus infection (commonly estimated at about 1%) is far less than it was for SARS (approximately 11%) and MERS (about 35%), but will likely be higher than the risk from seasonal flu (which averages about 0.1%). We will have a more accurate estimate of fatality rate for this coronavirus infection once testing becomes more available.

What we do know so far is the risk of death very much depends on your age and your overall health. Children appear to be at very low risk of severe disease and death. Older adults and those who smoke or have chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, or lung disease have a higher chance of developing complications like pneumonia, which could be deadly.

18. How long does the virus survive on surfaces?

Ans. It is not certain how long the virus that causes COVID-19 survives on surfaces, but it seems to behave like other coronaviruses. Studies suggest that coronaviruses (including preliminary information on the COVID-19 virus) may persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days. This may vary under different conditions (e.g. type of surface, temperature or humidity of the environment).

If you think a surface may be infected, clean it with simple disinfectant to kill the virus and protect yourself and others. Clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, or nose.

19. Can the virus be transmitted by mosquito bites?

Ans. To date, there has been no information nor evidence to suggest that the new coronavirus could be transmitted by mosquitoes. The new coronavirus is a respiratory virus which spreads primarily through droplets generated when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose. To protect yourself, clean your hands frequently with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Also, avoid close contact with anyone who is coughing and sneezing.

20. Is there anything I should not do?

Ans. The following measures ARE NOT effective against COVID-2019 and can be harmful:

  1. Smoking
  2. Wearing multiple masks
  3. Taking antibiotics

21. What are guidelines to be followed amid the Lockdown?

Ans. The guidelines issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs on 24.03.2020 can be found here. The annexure to the guidelines issued on 24.03.2020 can be found here.

22. What will be exempted from the lockdown?

  • Government offices of certain departments will remain open. These include defence, central armed police forces, treasury, public utilities (including petroleum, CNG, LPG and PNG), disaster management, power generation and transmission, post offices.
  • State government offices of certain departments. These include police, home guards, civil defence, fire and emergency services, disaster management, prisons, district admin and treasury, electricity, water and sanitation.
  • Hospitals and all related medical establishments — both public and private. This includes dispensaries, chemists, equipment shops, labs, clinics and nursing home. Transportation for all medical personnel will be permitted.
  • Shops dealing with food, groceries, fruits and vegetables, dairy and milk booths, meat and fish, animal fodder.
  • Banks, insurance offices and ATMs.
  • Print and electronic media.
  • Telecommunication, internet, broadcasting and cable services.
  • Delivery of all essential goods including food, medicines and medical equipment through e-commerce.
  • Petrol pumps, LPG and related outlets.
  • Units involved in electricity generation and distribution.
  • Capital and debt market services as notified by SEBI.
  • Cold storage and warehousing services.
  • Private security services.
  • Manufacturing units of essential commodities.
  • Production units, which require a continuous process after obtaining required permission from the state government.
  • Transportation only for essential goods and emergency services.
  • Hotels, homestays, lodges and motels which are accommodating tourists and those stranded due to lockdown or providing quarantine facilities.
  • No more than 20 people will be allowed for funeral processions.

23. What will remain closed?

  • All commercial and private establishments shall be closed.
  • All establishments, except those exempted, will work from home only.
  • Industrial establishments will remain closed.
  • All transport services — air, rail, roadways will remain suspended.
  • Hospitality services to remain suspended.
  • All educational institutions will remain closed.
  • All places of worship are closed. No religious congregations will be permitted.
  • All social, political, sports, entertainment, academic, cultural and religious functions will be banned.

24. What are the guidelines for Home Quarantine?

Ans. You can find the guidelines for home quarantine released by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare Directorate General of Health Services (EMR Division) here.

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