General COVID-19 Information
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is a disease caused by a new coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2. WHO first learned of this new virus on 31 December 2019, following a report of a cluster of cases of ‘viral pneumonia’ in Wuhan, People’s Republic of China.
How does COVID-19 spread?
The virus is transmitted through direct contact with respiratory droplets of an infected person (generated through coughing and sneezing). Individuals can also be infected from and touching surfaces contaminated with the virus and touching their face (e.g., eyes, nose, mouth). The COVID-19 virus may survive on surfaces for several hours, but simple disinfectants can kill it.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are:
- Dry cough
Other symptoms that are less common and may affect some patients include:
- Loss of taste or smell
- Nasal congestion
- Conjunctivitis (also known as red eyes)
- Sore throat
- Muscle or joint pain,
- Different types of skin rash
- Nausea or vomiting
- Chills or dizziness.
Symptoms of severe COVID‐19 disease include:
- Shortness of breath
- Loss of appetite
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest,
- High temperature (above 38 °C).
Other less common symptoms are:
- Reduced consciousness (sometimes associated with seizures)
- Sleep disorders
- More severe and rare neurological complications such as strokes, brain inflammation, delirium, and nerve damage.
People of all ages who experience fever and/or cough associated with difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, chest pain or pressure, or loss of speech or movement should seek medical care immediately. If possible, call your health care provider, hotline or health facility first, so you can be directed to the right clinic.