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. COVID-19 is now a pandemic affecting many countries globally.

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How does COVID-19 spread?

People can catch COVID-19 from others who have the virus. The disease spreads primarily from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth, which are expelled when a person with COVID-19 coughs, sneezes, or speaks. People can catch COVID-19 if they breathe in these droplets from a person infected with the virus. […]

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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 do not develop any symptoms and don’t feel unwell. Most people (about 80%) recover from […]

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What can I do to minimise the risk of infection?

Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Maintain at least 1 metre distance between yourself and others. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unclean hands.

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How can we protect others and ourselves if we don’t know who is infected?

Practising hand and breathing hygiene is important at ALL times and is the best way to protect others and yourself. When possible, maintain at least a 1 metre distance between yourself and others. This is especially important if you are standing by someone who is coughing or sneezing. Since some infected people may not yet […]

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What should I do if I have come in close contact with someone who has COVID-19?

If you have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19, you may be infected. In these cases, it is best to stay at home. However, if you live in an area with malaria it is important that you do not ignore symptoms of fever. Seek medical help. When you attend the health facility wear […]

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How long does it take after exposure to COVID-19 to develop symptoms?

The time between exposure to COVID-19 and the moment when symptoms start is commonly around five to six days but can range from 1 – 14 days.

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What is self-isolation?

Self-isolation is a way to keep yourself from possibly infecting others if you think you might be infected. It involves limiting contact with public places, relatives, friends, colleagues, and public transport.

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What is the difference between self-isolation, self-quarantine and distancing?

Quarantine means restricting activities or separating people who are not ill themselves but may have been exposed to COVID-19. The goal is to prevent the spread of the disease at the time when people just develop symptoms. Isolation means separating people who are ill with symptoms of COVID-19 and may be infectious to prevent the […]

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I have flu like symptoms, should I get tested?

The symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, shortness of breath or sore throat. However, these are also symptoms of the flu. The National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) recommends that you should only get tested if you display symptoms plus: Have been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 Travelled to a high-risk country […]

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Where should I go if I want to test for COVID-19?

If you think you might have contracted the virus, you can call the NICD helpline (0800 029 999) and you will be advised on possible testing facilities.

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What happens if I test positive?

Anyone who tests positive will immediately be notified and put into quarantine at home or at a facility designated to manage the outbreak. You will then remain in quarantine until repeat testing shows you no longer have the virus.

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How much does the test cost?

Public sector testing is free of charge. Private laboratories such as Lancet, Ampath and Pathcare can also test for SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19). Enquiry should be done with the respective laboratory for their costings of the test.

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How is COVID-19 infection treated?

There is no specific treatment available for SARS-CoV-2. Treatment is supportive (e.g. providing oxygen for patients with shortness of breath or managing a fever). Antibiotics do not treat viral infections. However, antibiotics may be required if a secondary bacterial infection develops. Currently there is a vaccine being developed.

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Is there a vaccine, drug or treatment for COVID-19?

Not yet. To date, there is no vaccine and no specific antiviral medicines against COVID-19. However, people, particularly those with serious illness, may need to be hospitalised so that they can receive life-saving treatment for complications. Most patients recover thanks to such care. Possible vaccines and some specific drug treatments are currently under investigation. They are […]

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Are antibiotics effective in preventing or treating COVID-19?

No. Antibiotics do not work against viruses; they only work on bacterial infections.

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Which hospitals will treat COVID-19 infected patients?

The following hospitals have also been identified as centres for isolation and treatment of people infected with coronavirus: Polokwane Hospital in Limpopo Klerksdorp Hospital in the North West Livingstone Hospital in the Eastern Cape Rob Ferreira Hospital in Mpumalanga Kimberly Hospital in the Northern Cape Grace Hospital in KwaZulu-Natal Charlotte Maxeke Hospital, Steve Biko Hospital […]

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How long does the virus survive on surfaces?

Studies have shown that the COVID-19 virus can survive for up to 72 hours on plastic and stainless steel, less than 4 hours on copper and less than 24 hours on cardboard. The most important thing to know about coronavirus on surfaces is that the surfaces can easily be cleaned with common household disinfectants that […]

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Can children or adolescents catch COVID-19?

Research shows that children and adolescents are just as likely to become infected as any other age group and can spread the disease. However, evidence to date suggests that children and young adults are less likely to get severe disease, although severe cases can still happen in these age groups. Children and adults should follow […]

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Can I catch COVID-19 from my pet?

There is no evidence that pets can transmit the disease to humans or play a role in spreading COVID-19.

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Can I go to school or work?

Anyone who is sick or displaying symptoms should not go to school or work. If you have been in close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case, you should self-isolate for 14 days from the date of close contact.

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How to grocery shop safely?

When grocery shopping, keep at least 1-metre distance from others and avoid touching your eyes, mouth and nose. If possible, sanitise the handles of shopping trolleys or baskets before shopping. Once home, wash your hands thoroughly and again after handling and storing your purchased products.

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How to wash fruits and vegetables?

Fruits and vegetables are important components of a healthy diet. Wash them the same way you should do under any circumstance: before handling them, wash your hands with soap and water. Then, wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly with clean water, especially if you eat them raw.

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