Coronavirus disease (Covid-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus i.e. severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). First identified in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak to be a pandemic on 11 March, 2020.
According to the WHO (World Health Organization), those infected with Covid-19 can display any of the following symptoms:
|Most common symptoms||Less common symptoms||Serious symptoms|
|Aches and pains|
Loss of taste or smell
A rash on skin, or discolouration of fingers or toes
|Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath|
Chest pain or pressure
Loss of speech or movement
It is also possible for a person to carry the infection without displaying any symptoms. This person can still transmit the disease to someone else.
According to the WHO, to prevent infection:
- Wash hands regularly with soap and water, or clean them with alcohol-based hand rub.
- Maintain at least 1 metre (3.2 feet) distance from people coughing or sneezing.
- Avoid touching the face.
- Cover the mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
- Stay home if unwell.
- Refrain from smoking and other activities that weaken the lungs.
- Practice physical distancing by avoiding unnecessary travel and staying away from large groups of people.
New strains of the Coronavirus
Over time, multiple new variants of coronavirus have been identified in different parts of the world. These include1:
- The B.1.1.7 variant in the United Kingdom
- The B. 1.351 variant in the South Africa
- The P.1 variant in Brazil
- Your Health, Covid-19, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, accessed at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/transmission/variant.html.