What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a disease caused by the “novel corona virus”. Common symptoms are:

  • Fever
  • Dry cough
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Some patients also have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhoea

About 80% of confirmed cases recover from the disease without any serious complications. However, one out of every six people who gets COVID-19 can become seriously ill* and develop difficulty in breathing. In more severe cases, infection can cause severe pneumonia and other complications which can be treated only at higher level facilities (District Hospitals and above). In a few cases it may even cause death.

 

How does COVID-19 spread?

  • COVID-19 spreads mainly by droplets produced as a result of coughing or sneezing of a COVID-19 infected person. This can happen in two ways:
  • Direct close contact: one can get the infection by being in close contact with COVID-19 patients (within one Metre of the infected person), especially if they do not cover their face when coughing or sneezing.
  • Indirect contact: the droplets survive on surfaces and clothes for many days. Therefore, touching any such infected surface or cloth and then touching one’s mouth, nose or eyes can transmit the disease.
  • The incubation period of COVID 19 (time between getting the infection and showing symptoms) is 1 to 14 days
  • Some people with the infection, but without any serious symptoms can also spread the disease.

Key messages to spread for prevention of COVID-19

  1.  How to avoid getting COVID-19 or spreading it?
    a) Practice Social Distancing:
    * Avoid gatherings such as melas, haats, gatherings in religious places, social functions etc.
    * Maintain a safe distance of at least one Metre between you and other people when in public places, especially if they are having symptoms such as cough, fever etc. to avoid direct droplet contact.
    * Stay at home as much as possible.
    * Avoid physical contact like handshakes, hand holding or hugs.
    * Avoid touching surfaces such as table tops, chairs, door handles etc.
    b) Practice good hygiene

    1. Wash your hands frequently using soap and water:
    2. After coming home from outside or meeting other people especially if they are ill.
    3. After having touched your face, coughing or sneezing.
    4. Before preparing food, eating or feeding children.
    5. Before and after using toilet, cleaning etc.
    6. It is preferable to cough/sneeze into your bent elbow rather than your palms.
    7. Do not Spit or shout in public places to avoid the spread of droplets.
    8. Do not touch your eyes, nose and mouth with unclean hands.
    9. Ensure that the surfaces and objects are regularly cleaned.
    10. While coughing or sneezing cover your nose and mouth with handkerchief. Wash the handkerchief at least daily
  2. What to do if you are having symptoms or have travelled to other countries or states in past two weeks?
    1. Symptoms of COVID 19 and seasonal respiratory illness (common cold/flu) are similar. All people with these symptoms may not have COVID 19.
    2.  Following persons should be quarantined for 14 days at home as a precaution:
    3.  People who have travelled to COVID 19 affected countries/areas in past 14 days
    4.  Those who have come in close contact with a suspected/confirmed COVID19 patient
    5.  Those who develop symptoms
    6.  These persons should inform you. If symptoms become severe then the person should visit a health facility after speaking with you.