COVID-19 is an infectious disease, which is caused by a recently discovered corona virus strain. This new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. COVID-19 causes respiratory illness that can spread from person to person and its notorious for mutating quickly and acquiring new characteristics.

Please note that most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. However, people with weaker immune system (immunocompromised) are more likely to develop serious illness. As per WHO, the incubation period for COVID-19 range from 1-14 days, most commonly around five days. So for the most common symptoms of COVID-19 are: Fever, Dry Cough, Sore Throat, Tiredness, Breathlessness. Though, some patients may also experience body aches, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. Chest X-rays show invasive pneumonic infiltrates in both lungs. However, all these symptoms are also common for other respiratory infections. So, in case of COVID-19, travel history to affected geographical area is a most important criteria in diagnosis. Some infected people can be asymptomatic (don’t feel sick). Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without requiring special treatment. Around 1 out of every 6 people who get COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops breathlessness (difficulty in breathing).

It is very important to understand COVID-19 transmission in order to protect yourself and others. The disease can spread from one person to another person through small droplets released from nose or mouth when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales. These droplets land on objects and surface around that infected person. Other people then catch COVID-19 by touching these contaminated objects or surfaces, then touching their face (eyes, nose or mouth). People can also catch COVID-19 if they inhale the droplets exhaled from a person with COVID-19.

The best way to prevent and stop the transmission is to be well informed about the COVID-19 virus, the disease it causes and how it spreads.

Follow the below listed instructions (for everyone) to prevent the infection:

  • Wash your hand regularly with soap and water, or clean them with alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Maintain at least 1 meter distance between you and people coughing or sneezing
  • Say Namaste to avoid hand contact
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing; practice respiratory etiquette (for example, by coughing into a flexed elbow or in tissue paper; discard the used tissue paper in a dustbin with a lid)
  • Refrain from smoking and other activities that weaken the lungs
  • Practice physical distancing (social distancing of at least 1 meter) by avoiding unnecessary travel and staying away from crowd
  • Stay at home if you don’t fell well. Seek medical attention if you experience fever, cough and difficulty in breathing (breathlessness).
  • Keep yourself updated about the latest COVID-19 hotspots (cities or areas where COVID-19 is spreading rapidly and widely). If possible, avoid traveling to those areas.

The best way to prevent and stop the transmission is to be well informed about the COVID-19 virus, the disease it causes and how it spreads.

  • Follow the guidance mentioned above (Protection measures for everyone)
  • Self-isolate (social distancing) yourself by staying at your home if you begin to feel sick/ill, even if you have mild symptoms for e.g., low grade fever (370C or above), headache and runny nose, until you completely recover.
  • If you experience fever, cough and breathlessness (difficulty in breathing), seek medical advice immediately, as this might be due to serious respiratory infection or other medical condition.

If you experience any symptoms pertaining to COVID-19 infection such as fever, cough, and/or breathlessness (difficulty in breathing), and have been in close contact with person known to be positive for COVID-19 or have had recently traveled to an area with spread or outbreak of COVID-19, then you should stay home and call your healthcare provider immediately . Your physician/doctor will decide and detect if you have signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and whether you need testing or not.

The risk depends on where you are or whether there is a COVID-19 outbreak occurring there.
For most of the people in most of the locations the risk of catching COVID-19 is still very low. However, there are now cities and areas around the world where the disease is rapidly spreading, taking a toll on normal day to day life. People living in , or visiting, these areas are at higher risk of catching COVID-19. You need to restrict your movement to such areas to reduce your risk of catching or spreading COVID-19 and also to contain the infection and stop the transmission.
Also, people with weaker immune system are more likely to develop serious illness, such as:

  • Older people
  • Immunocompromised individuals
  • People with cardiovascular diseases
  • Diabetics
  • People with chronic respiratory disorders
  • Patients with Malignancies

COVID-19 can affect anyone, but older people and individuals with underlying medical conditions (such as diabetes, lung diseases, high blood pressure, heart disease or malignancy) appear to develop serious illness more in comparison to others.

Countries, including India, have taken all necessary actions to ensure that the nation is well-equipped to face the challenge posed by Covid-19. Precaution advisory against this growing contagion and the exemplary groundwork has helped in reducing the impact of the virus in many areas. However, vaccination will provide a solution by enhancing immunity and containing the disease spread.

  • Vaccine intends to be used for active immunization of people who are at risk.
  • Currently, Covishield® (AstraZeneca's vaccine manufactured by Serum Institute of India) and Covaxin® (manufactured by Bharat Biotech Limited) are being used for the vaccination programme.

  • Clean hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water before touching the mask
  • Take the mask and inspect it for any damage
  • See which side is the top side (where the metal strip is)
  • Ensure the proper side of the mask faces outwards (the coloured side)
  • Place the mask to your face. Pinch the metal strip or stiff edge of the mask so that it fits properly
  • Pull down the mask’s bottom to cover your mouth and chin
  • After use, take off the mask: while keeping the mask away from your face and clothes: avoid touching potentially contaminated surfaces of the mask
  • Discard the mask in a closed bin immediately
  • Wash your hands immediately after touching or discarding the mask

There is no documented evidence that a dog, cat or any pet can transmit COVID-19. As stated, COVID-19 can mainly spread through droplets breathed out (blow out) when an infected person sneezes or coughs. To protect yourself, wash your hands frequently and properly.

It is not yet clear that how long the COVID-19 survives on surfaces, however, it seems to act like other coronaviruses. Preliminary information on the COVID-19 virus have suggested that it may persist on surfaces for few hours to several days. Though it can vary under different environmental conditions such as type of surface, temperature or the humidity. Surface cleaning should be done with simple disinfectant to kill the virus. Clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Avoid touching your mouth, eyes or nose.