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Q&A COVID-19: WHO Answers All That You Need To Know

WHO is continuously monitoring and responding to this outbreak.

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What is a coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans.  In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The most recently discovered coronavirus causes coronavirus disease COVID-19.

What is COVID-19?


COVID-19 is an 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.

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 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.


How does COVID-19 spread?

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.

(A) Can the virus that causes COVID-19 be transmitted through the air?

Studies to date suggest that the virus that causes COVID-19 is mainly transmitted through contact with respiratory droplets rather than through the air.  See the previous answer on “How does COVID-19 spread?”

(B) Can CoVID-19 be caught from a person who has no symptoms?


The main way the disease spreads is through respiratory droplets expelled by someone who is coughing. The risk of catching COVID-19 from someone with no symptoms at all is very low. However, many people with COVID-19 experience only mild symptoms. This is particularly true in the early stages of the disease. It is, therefore, possible to catch COVID-19 from someone who has, for example, just a mild cough and does not feel ill.  WHO is assessing ongoing research on the period of transmission of COVID-19 and will continue to share updated findings.

(C) Can I catch COVID-19 from the faeces of someone with the disease?

The risk of catching COVID-19 from the faeces of an infected person appears to be low. While initial investigations suggest the virus may be present in faeces in some cases, spread through this route is not a main feature of the outbreak. WHO is assessing ongoing research on the ways COVID-19 is spread and will continue to share new findings. Because this is a risk, however, it is another reason to clean hands regularly, after using the bathroom and before eating.

What can I do to protect myself and prevent the spread of disease?

Protection measures for everyone

Stay aware of the latest information on the COVID-19 outbreak, available on the WHO website and through your national and local public health authority. Many countries around the world have seen cases of COVID-19 and several have seen outbreaks. Authorities in China and some other countries have succeeded in slowing or stopping their outbreaks. However, the situation is unpredictable so check regularly for the latest news.

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.

Protection measures for persons who are in or have recently visited (past 14 days) areas where COVID-19 is spreading

Follow the guidance outlined above (Protection measures for everyone)

Self-isolate by staying at home if you begin to feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache, low-grade fever (37.3 C or above) and slight runny nose, until you recover. If it is essential for you to have someone bring you supplies or to go out, e.g. to buy food, then wear a mask to avoid infecting other people. Why? Avoiding contact with others and visits to medical facilities will allow these facilities to operate more effectively and help protect you and others from possible COVID-19 and other viruses.

If you develop fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical advice promptly as this may be due to a respiratory infection or other serious condition. Call in advance and tell your provider of any recent travel or contact with travellers. Why? Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also help to prevent the possible spread of COVID-19 and other viruses.

How likely am I to catch COVID-19?

The risk depends on where you are – and more specifically, whether there is a COVID-19 outbreak unfolding there.

For most people in most locations, the risk of catching COVID-19 is still low. However, there are now places around the world (cities or areas) where the disease is spreading. For people living in, or visiting, these areas the risk of catching COVID-19 is higher. Governments and health authorities are taking vigorous action every time a new case of COVID-19 is identified. Be sure to comply with any local restrictions on travel, movement or large gatherings. Cooperating with disease control efforts will reduce your risk of catching or spreading COVID-19.

COVID-19 outbreaks can be contained and transmission stopped, as has been shown in China and some other countries. Unfortunately, new outbreaks can emerge rapidly. It’s important to be aware of the situation where you are or intend to go. WHO publishes daily updates on the COVID-19 situation worldwide.

You can see these at https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/situation-reports/

Should I worry about COVID-19?

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. Learn more about how to protect yourself at https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public

Who is at risk of developing severe illness?

While we are still learning about how COVID-2019 affects people, older persons and persons with pre-existing medical conditions (such as high blood pressure, heart disease, lung disease, cancer or diabetes)  appear to develop serious illness more often than others.

Are antibiotics effective in preventing or treating the COVID-19?

No. Antibiotics do not work against viruses, they only work on bacterial infections. COVID-19 is caused by a virus, so antibiotics do not work. Antibiotics should not be used as a means of prevention or treatment of COVID-19. They should only be used as directed by a physician to treat a bacterial infection.

Are there any medicines or therapies that can prevent or cure COVID-19?

While some western, traditional or home remedies may provide comfort and alleviate symptoms of COVID-19, there is no evidence that current medicine can prevent or cure the disease. WHO does not recommend self-medication with any medicines, including antibiotics, as a prevention or cure for COVID-19. However, there are several ongoing clinical trials that include both western and traditional medicines. WHO will continue to provide updated information as soon as clinical findings are available.

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

Not yet. To date, there is no vaccine and no specific antiviral medicine to prevent or treat COVID-2019. However, those affected should receive care to relieve symptoms. People with serious illness should be hospitalized. Most patients recover thanks to supportive care.

Possible vaccines and some specific drug treatments are under investigation. They are being tested through clinical trials. WHO is coordinating efforts to develop vaccines and medicines to prevent and treat COVID-19.

The most effective ways to protect yourself and others against COVID-19 are to frequently clean your hands, cover your cough with the bend of elbow or tissue, and maintain a distance of at least 1 meter (3 feet) from people who are coughing or sneezing.

Is COVID-19 the same as SARS?

No. The virus that causes COVID-19 and the one that caused the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003 are related to each other genetically, but the diseases they cause are quite different.

SARS was more deadly but much less infectious than COVID-19. There have been no outbreaks of SARS anywhere in the world since 2003.

Should I wear a mask to protect myself?

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.

WHO advises rational use of medical masks to avoid unnecessary wastage of precious resources and misuse of masks.

The most effective ways to protect yourself and others against COVID-19 are to frequently clean your hands, cover your cough with the bend of elbow or tissue and maintain a distance of at least 1 meter (3 feet) from people who are coughing or sneezing.

How to put on, use, take off and dispose of a mask?

  1. Remember, a mask should only be used by health workers, caretakers, and individuals with respiratory symptoms, such as fever and cough.
  2. Before touching the mask, clean hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water
  3. Take the mask and inspect it for tears or holes.
  4. Orient which side is the top side (where the metal strip is).
  5. Ensure the proper side of the mask faces outwards (the coloured side).
  6. Place the mask to your face. Pinch the metal strip or stiff edge of the mask so it moulds to the shape of your nose.
  7. Pull down the mask’s bottom so it covers your mouth and your chin.
  8. After use, take off the mask; remove the elastic loops from behind the ears while keeping the mask away from your face and clothes, to avoid touching potentially contaminated surfaces of the mask.
  9. Discard the mask in a closed bin immediately after use.
  10. Perform hand hygiene after touching or discarding the mask – Use alcohol-based hand rub or, if visibly soiled, wash your hands with soap and water.

How long is the incubation period for COVID-19?

The “incubation period” means the time between catching the virus and beginning to have symptoms of the disease. Most estimates of the incubation period for COVID-19 range from 1-14 days, most commonly around five days. These estimates will be updated as more data become available.

Can humans become infected with the COVID-19 from an animal source?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in animals. Occasionally, people get infected with these viruses which may then spread to other people. For example, SARS-CoV was associated with civet cats and MERS-CoV is transmitted by dromedary camels. Possible animal sources of COVID-19 have not yet been confirmed.

To protect yourself, such as when visiting live animal markets, avoid direct contact with animals and surfaces in contact with animals. Ensure good food safety practices at all times. Handle raw meat, milk or animal organs with care to avoid contamination of uncooked foods and avoid consuming raw or undercooked animal products.

Can I catch COVID-19 from my pet?

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.

WHO continues to monitor the latest research on this and other COVID-19 topics and will update as new findings are available.

How long does the virus survive on surfaces?

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.

Is it safe to receive a package from any area where COVID-19 has been reported?

Yes. The likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low and the risk of catching the virus that causes COVID-19 from a package that has been moved, travelled, and exposed to different conditions and temperature is also low.

Is there anything I should not do?

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

Smoking
Wearing multiple masks
Taking antibiotics

In any case, if you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing seek medical care early to reduce the risk of developing a more severe infection and be sure to share your recent travel history with your health care provider.

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COVID-19: Full Text – SOPs For Hotels, Hospitality Units

Only those hotels that are outside containment zones will be allowed to open up.

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NEW DELHI: All hotels and other hospitality units must take suitable measures to restrict any further transmission of COVID-19 while providing accommodation and other tourist services. The SOP aims to minimize all possible physical contacts between Staff and Guests and maintain social distancing and other preventive and safety measures against COVID-19.

The Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) outline various generic precautionary measures to be adopted in addition to specific measures to be ensured in hotels and other hospitality units(henceforth, ‘hotels’) to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Hotels in containment zones shall remain closed. Only those outside containment zones will be allowed to open up.

Generic preventive measures:


(A) Persons above 65 years of age, persons with comorbidities, pregnant women and children below the age of 10 years are advised to stay at home, except for essential and health purposes. Hotel management to advise accordingly.
(B) The generic measures include simple public health measures that are to be followed to reduce the risk of COVID-19. These measures need to be observed by all (staff and guests) in these places at all times. These include:

i. Physical distancing of at least 6 feet to be followed as far as feasible.
ii. Use of face covers/masks to be made mandatory.
iii. Practice frequent hand washing with soap (for at least 40-60 seconds) even when hands are not visibly dirty. Use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers (for at least 20 seconds) can be made wherever feasible.
iv. Respiratory etiquettes to be strictly followed. This involves the strict practice of covering one’s mouth and nose while coughing/sneezing with a tissue/handkerchief/flexed elbow and disposing off used tissues properly.
v. Self-monitoring of health by all and reporting any illness at the earliest to state and district helpline.
vi. Spitting shall be strictly prohibited.
vii. Installation and use of Aarogya Setuapp shall be advised to all.

All Hotels shall ensure the following arrangements:


i. Entrance to have mandatory hand hygiene (sanitizer dispenser) and thermal screening provisions.
ii. Only asymptomatic staff and guests shall be allowed.
iii. All staff and guests to be allowed entry only if using face cover/masks. The face cover/masks have to be worn at all times inside the hotel.
iv. Adequate manpower shall be deployed by hotel management for ensuring social distancing norms.
v. Staff should additionally wear gloves and take other required precautionary measures.
vi. All employees who are at higher risk i.e. older employees, pregnant employees and employees who have underlying medical conditions, to take extra precautions. They should preferably not be exposed to any front-line work requiring direct contact with the public. Hotel management to facilitate work from home wherever feasible.
vii. Proper crowd management in the hotel as well as in outside premises like parking lots–duly following social distancing norms shall be ensured. Large gatherings/congregations continue to remain prohibited.
viii. Valet parking, if available, shall be operational with operating staff wearing face covers/ masks and gloves as appropriate. Proper disinfection of steering, door handles, keys, etc. of the vehicles should be taken up.
ix. Preferably separate entry and exits for guests, staff and goods/supplies shall be organized. Maintaining physical distancing of a minimum of 6 feet, when queuing up for entry and inside the hotel as far as feasible. Specific markings may be made with sufficient distance to manage the queue and ensure social distancing in the premises.
x. The number of people in the elevators shall be restricted, duly maintaining social distancing norms. Use of escalators with one person on alternate steps may be encouraged.
xi. Details of the guest (travel history, medical condition etc.) along with ID and self-declaration form must be provided by the guest at the reception.
xii. Posters/standees/AV media on preventive measures about COVID-19 to be displayed prominently.
xiii. Hand sanitizers must be kept at the reception for guests to use. Guests to sanitize hands before and after filling relevant forms including A&D register.
xiv. Hotels must adopt contactless processes like QR code, online forms, digital payments like e-wallet etc. for both check-in and check-out.
xv. Luggage should be disinfected before sending the luggage to rooms.
xvi. Guests who are at higher risk i.e. those who are older, pregnant or those who have underlying medical conditions are advised to take extra precautions.
xvii. Guests should be advised not to visit areas falling within containment zone
xviii. Required precautions while handling supplies, inventories and goods in the hotel shall be ensured. Proper queue management and disinfection shall be organized.
xix. Appropriate personal protection gears like face covers/masks, gloves and hand sanitizers etc.shall be made available by the hotel to the staff as well as the guests.
xx. Detailed guidelines issued for restaurants shall be followed.
a. Seating arrangement in the restaurant also to be made in such a way that adequate social distancing is maintained.
b. Disposable menus are advised to be used.
c. Instead of cloth napkins, use of good quality disposable paper napkins to be encouraged.
d. Contactless mode of ordering and digital mode of payment (using e-wallets) to be encouraged.
e. Buffet service should also follow social distancing norms among guests.
xxi. Room service or takeaways to be encouraged, instead of dine-in. Food delivery personnel should leave the packet at the guest or customer’s door and not handed directly to the receiver. The staff for home deliveries shall be screened thermally by the hotel authorities prior to allowing home deliveries.
xxii. For room service, communication between guests and in-house staff should be through intercom/ mobile phone and room service (if any) should be provided while maintaining adequate social distance.
xxiii. Gaming Arcades/Children play areas (wherever applicable) shall remain closed.
xxiv. For air-conditioning/ventilation, the guidelines of CPWD shall be followed which inter alia emphasises that the temperature setting of all air conditioning devices should be in the range of 24-30oC, relative humidity should be in the range of 40-70%, intake of fresh air should be as much as possible and cross ventilation should
be adequate.
xxv. Effective and frequent sanitation within the premises shall be maintained with particular focus on lavatories, drinking and handwashing stations/areas.
xxvi. Cleaning and regular disinfection (using 1% sodium hypochlorite) of frequently touched surfaces (doorknobs, elevator buttons, handrails, benches, washroom fixtures, etc.) to be made mandatory in all guest service area and common areas.
xxvii. Proper disposal of face covers/masks/gloves leftover by guests and/or staff should be ensured.
xxviii. Deep cleaning of all washrooms shall be ensured at regular intervals.
xxix. Rooms and other service areas shall be sanitized each time a guest leaves.
xxx. In the kitchen, the staff should follow social distancing norms at the workplace. The kitchen area must be sanitized at regular intervals.
xxxi. In case of a suspect or confirmed case in the premises:
a. Place the ill person in a room or area where they are isolated from others.
b. Provide a mask/face cover till such time he/she is examined by a doctor.
c. Immediately inform the nearest medical facility (hospital/clinic) or call the state or district helpline.
d. A risk assessment will be undertaken by the designated public health authority (district RRT/treating physician) and accordingly further action be initiated regarding the management of the case, his/her contacts and need for disinfection.
e. Disinfection of the premises to be taken up if the person is found positive.

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COVID-19: Nearly 10,000 Cases, 273 Deaths Reported In 24 Hours

Maharashtra remains the worst-hit Indian state with 74,860 coronavirus cases reported so far.

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NEW DELHI: With a record single-day spike of 9,851 patients, India’s tally of confirmed coronavirus cases reached to 2,26,770 on Thursday, while the death count due to the disease climbed to 6,348 with 260 new fatalities, according to the Union health ministry. India has now registered over 8,000 fresh cases for the fifth consecutive day.

India now is at the seventh spot among the nations worst hit by the COVID-19 pandemic after the US, Brazil, Russia, the UK, Spain and Italy.

Maharashtra has been the worst hit with 74,860 coronavirus cases, while Tamil Nadu ranks second having 25,872 cases. National Capital Delhi has now climbed up to the third place reporting 23,645 cases of COVID-19 infection.


Maharashtra has also reported the maximum 2,587 deaths so. Gujarat is at the second spot with 1,122 deaths.

The death toll in Madhya Pradesh stands at 371, West Bengal 345, Uttar Pradesh 229, Rajasthan 209, Tamil Nadu 208, Telangana 99 and Andhra Pradesh 68.

The recovery rate of COVID-19 cases has improved to around 48 per cent in the country. A total of 3,804 people affected by COVID-19 have recovered during the last 24 hours. So far, over 1,04,000 cases have been cured.

Presently, there are 1,06,737 active cases and all are under active medical supervision.


Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has further ramped up the testing capacity for detecting the novel coronavirus in infected persons.

The number of government labs has been increased to 498 and private labs have been increased to 212.

As many as 1,39,485 samples have been tested in the last 24 hours. The total number of samples tested thus far is over 42,42,000.

Updates from States:

Gujarat: With 291 new cases of COVID-19, tally rises to 13,354 in Ahmedabad; 28 more succumb, taking the toll to 938.

Assam: Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Thursday confirmed 285 new COVID-19 cases, taking the total number of positive cases in the state to 2,115.


Delhi: 1,359 fresh cases take Delhi’s COVID-19 tally to over 25K; death toll climbs to 650.

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COVID-19: 200 Special Passenger Trains To Run From Today

No tatkal and premium tatkal booking will be permitted in these trains.

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NEW DELHI: Two hundred special trains will run across the country from tomorrow. These services will be in addition to Shramik Special trains and 30 Special AC trains.

These trains are fully reserved trains having both AC and Non AC classes. General coaches have reserved seat for sitting accommodation. There will be no unreserved coach on the train.

Railway Ministry said, more than 1 lakh 45 thousand passengers will travel tomorrow. Around 26 lakh passengers have booked their tickets for Advance Reservation Period 1st to 30th June.


The passengers have to reach the station 90 minutes in advance to facilitate thermal screening at the station. All passengers will be screened and only asymptomatic passengers will be allowed to board the train.

Only passengers with confirmed and RAC tickets will be allowed to enter the Railway Station and board the train.

All passengers must wear face masks at the entry and during travel. Passengers have to observe social distancing both at the station and on trains.

On arrival at their destination, the travelling passengers will have to adhere to such health protocols as are prescribed by the destination State and Union territories.


No Linen, blankets and curtains will be provided inside the train. Passengers are advised to carry their own linen for the travel.

Online Booking of tickets for these trains is being done through IRCTC website or through Mobile App. Railways has also allowed booking of reservation tickets through the reservation counters, Common Service Centers and Ticketing agents.

No tatkal and premium tatkal booking will be permitted in these trains.

This development comes in a move to let citizens travel to their hometowns amid the nationwide lockdown which was imposed to combat spread of novel coronavirus in the country.

The Ministry of Railways today said that more than 1.45 lakh passengers will be travelling on Monday when the 200 special trains will start their operations.

Around 26 lakh passengers have booked tickets on these special trains till 30 June, the national transporter said.


These trains also include the popular trains such as Durontos, Sampark Krantis, Jan Shatabdis and Poorva Express and more. Railways also said that these will have both AC and non-AC classes and fully reserved coaches.

Here are the details about the special trains:

 

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