In response to the coronavirus outbreak, Facebook is supporting the global public health community’s work to keep people safe and informed. 
Photo: IANS
In response to the coronavirus outbreak, Facebook is supporting the global public health community’s work to keep people safe and informed. Photo: IANS

Coronavirus: Everything you need to know about the pandemic

By Staff reporter Time of article published Mar 16, 2020

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Cape Town - As the number of coronavirus cases continues to rise and fake news spreads, it is important to be informed of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The coronavirus are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). The new strain, Covid-19 was discovered in 2019 and has not been previously identified in humans.

Coronavirus symptoms

The World Health Organisation identified the following as common signs of infection: respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. 

In severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and death. 

Prevent spread of infection

It is advised that to prevent spread of infection and to keep yourself safe, wash hands regularly for 20 seconds, cover mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing and thoroughly cooking meat and eggs. 

Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness and always keep a one metre distance between you and another person who is coughing or sneezing. 

Websites and hotlines 

The Department of Health has announced a newly-launched website detailing all Covid-19 related resources. 

The department has also put a WhatsApp support group into place where concerned South Africans can stay informed.

Send a message saying "Hi" to 0600 123 456 to join the conversation.

For emergencies, contact the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) on the coronavirus 24-hour hotline number at 0800 029 999.

Family members who require more information about their loved ones who will be repatriated can contact the Department of International Relations and Corporation (DIRCO) on the following contact details:

Email address: [email protected] or [email protected]  

Telephone number: 012 351 1754.

What do I do if I think I might have gotten coronavirus?

If you think you have contracted Covid-19, seek medical help immediately and do self-isolation. Self-isolation is a way to keep yourself from possibly infecting others if you think you might be infected. This entails limiting contact with public places, relatives, friends, colleagues, and public transport.

The NICD recommends that you should only get tested for coronavirus if you display symptoms plus:

  • Been in contact with a confirmed COVID-19 person;
  • Travelled to a high risk country;
  • Worked in or been to a healthcare facility treating people with Covid-19;
  • Have a severe case of pneumonia with an unknown cause.

* For the latest on the Covid-19 outbreak visit IOL's #Coronavirus trend page.

** If you think you have been exposed to the Covid-19 virus, please call the 24-hour hotline on 0800 029 999 


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