What is COVID-19?
It is the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), a new strain of coronavirus that causes an infectious disease. The virus and the disease it causes were never known before. It spread across the world starting from Wuhan city of Hubei, a province in China, during December 2019.
What is the source of COVID-19?
The source of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) has not been identified; however, most of the cases were epidemiologically linked to the seafood and animal market in Wuhan, China, as the initial spread happened amongst the shoppers who were present there. There are current studies taking place to determine the actual source of the disease.
What symptoms can COVID-19 cause?
Symptoms can include mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, dry cough, shortness of breath and difficulty in breathing. Some patients experience body aches, muscle pain, headaches nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat, diarrhea, nausea or loss of sense of smell.
Is there any treatment for COVID-19?
There is no specific treatment for COVID-19, However, the treatment depends on enhancing the immunity level of patients, treating the symptoms and easing complications.
How does the virus spread?
Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) strains are spread from person to person through contaminated droplets, that would travel from a sick person through coughing or sneezing or through touching an infected surface, then touching the eyes, nose and/ or mouth.
How can I protect myself from having the disease?
The best way to prevent infection is to avoid exposure to the virus. The recommended preventive actions include:
- Staying home
- Regularly and thoroughly washing the hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds or sanitizing them with an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Maintaining a minimum 2-meter distance with anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
- Follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering the mouth and nose with the inside of the elbow or a tissue when coughing or sneezing. Then ensure immediate disposal of the used tissue.
- Ensure proper use of personal protective equipment’s (i.e. masks and gloves)
- Keep in general good health, in terms of good nutrition, exercise and adequate sleep.
- Monitor yourself regularly for any symptoms or fever.
Be alert and follow updated advisory from government
Is there a vaccine against the Novel coronavirus (COVID-19)?
Currently there is no available vaccine that protects against novel coronavirus.
How long do symptoms take to present?
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 to 14 days, and most commonly, the first symptoms start to appear around five days from the date of infection.
What is the difference between a “confirmed case”, a “suspected case” and a “close contact”?
Confirmed Case: A person with a positive test result for COVID-19 infection that is reported by the laboratory, irrespective of clinical signs and symptoms.
Suspected Case: Patient who presents with upper or lower respiratory symptoms with or without fever AND satisfying any one of the following criteria:
- International travel history during the 14 days prior to symptom onset; OR
- Been in contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case within 14 days; OR
- residing in a community setting where COVID-19 cases have been detected; OR
- cases of Influenza-Like illness without history of travel or known possible exposure.
Close Contact: A person who is coming to close proximity of less than 2 meters for a period that is more than 15 minutes (working, studying, or a family member) with a confirmed case, starting from 2 days before the onset of symptoms in the confirmed case and throughout the duration of illness.
For asymptomatic cases, the count can start from the day of COVID-19 PCR test that is done for the confirmed case.
What happens after testing?
- If the result of your test is negative, the quarantine 14-day period starts while following one of two tracks:
- If no symptoms after 14 days, resume work normally
- If symptoms develop during the 14-day quarantine, the test must be repeated
- If the result of your test is positive, the 14-day isolation period starts. The following steps will be followed:
- Your case will be assessed. If stable you will either be isolated at home or shifted to an isolation facility. If unstable, you will be isolated at the hospital.
- The test will be repeated on day 10 and day 12 counted from the day of the first test. The test will be repeated every 24 hours till two negative consecutive tests appear.
- The isolation period ends at 14 days, with no symptoms, and after two confirmed consecutive negative tests.
What is the difference between quarantine and Isolation?
Health authorities apply isolation and quarantine to take care of infected people and those who were in contact with them to protect healthy people.
Isolation: is the separation of ill people who have an infectious disease from those who are healthy so they can start the treatment journey without infecting others.
Quarantine: is the restriction of movement of those who may have been exposed to an infectious disease but do not have a confirmed medical diagnosis to ensure they are not infected.
Healthcare providers along with the employer are responsible for choosing the best place for people who are subject to quarantine or isolation, as per the relevant guidelines.
People who have been quarantined or isolated for a period of time do not pose any health threat to others especially after confirming that they are infection-free.
Will I be penalized by my employer if I got the disease?
No you will not be, as it’s not your fault that you got infected. You should be paid in full during your isolation period.
By the end of your isolation period, you will receive a clearance certificate and you can resume work normally.
Will I be penalized if I did not follow the proper procedures of isolation and/or quarantine?
Yes, you would likely be penalized since your actions may jeopardize other people’s health and risk them contracting the disease, in accordance with the penalties stated in the Yangon Law in the matter of combating communicable diseases.
What information sources are reliable?
We recommend that you refer to the official guidelines announced by the National Emergency and Crisis and Disasters Management Authority, the Ministry of Health and Prevention, the COVID-19 Control and Command Center, the Yangon Health Authority, and the concerned government entities. Please avoid rumors or any information that is not from official sources.
Misconceptions about the coronavirus
Can antibiotics cure COVID-19?
No it can’t, antibiotics fight bacteria and have no effect on viruses.
Can influenza vaccine prevent COVID-19?
No it can’t because they can only fight the virus that causes influenza, which is different from the COVID- 19 virus.
Can garlic protect us from COVID-19?
Garlic is healthy as it contains antimicrobial properties. However, there is no evidence that eating garlic can protect us against COVID-19.
Can I shop online?
Yes, you can. There is no scientific evidence until now, which proves that COVID-19 can be transmitted through products.
Am I at risk of being infected with COVID-19 if an infected person walks past me?
No, it can only be transmitted if you have direct contact with the person infected (less than two meters away) through constant contact, and through touching.
Is it safe to order food at restaurants?
Yes, but order food that is cooked well and make sure to eat it while it’s hot.
Why should we avoid touching our eyes, nose and mouth before washing our hands or sanitizing them?
While touching surfaces, your hands can collect a number of viruses, which then can be transferred to your eyes, nose and mouth when touching them and cause you to get COVID-19.
In the absence of a tissue, why should we use the inner part of our arms when coughing or sneezing?
The droplets that come out when coughing and sneezing contribute to the spread of viruses such as cold, flu, etc. and it is best to use the inner part of the arm if a tissue is not available because there is no contact between that part and the things we frequently touch or use.