This page includes frequently asked questions (FAQs) and answers related to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. For additional help, contact our Health Information Management Services department.
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.
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 diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually.
We know that for similar coronaviruses, infected people are unlikely to be re-infected shortly after they recover. However, because the immune response to COVID-19 is not yet understood, it is not yet known whether similar immune protection will be observed for patients who have recovered from 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.
According to the WHO, for individuals without respiratory symptoms, a medical mask is not required, as no evidence is available on its usefulness to protect non-sick persons. However, masks might be worn in some countries according to local cultural habits.
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.
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.
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.
If you are well, no testing is recommended. If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, you should immediately isolate yourself from others. Call your local UN clinic/medical facility to inform them of your condition and relevant travel/exposure history. If you had been identified as a close contact of a case by the local Ministry of Health or WHO, please also indicate this. From here you will be advised if a medical assessment is necessary and how to get tested.
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).
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All diagnostics is performed in laboratories with an implemented Quality System. Find out how you get your test result and what your result means if you've had a test to check if you have coronavirus.
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