Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus)
What is Novel Coronavirus and what disease does it cause?
- Many types of Coronaviruses can cause respiratory diseases in humans.
- The current coronavirus has been named Novel Coronavirus or nCoV and the disease it causes has been named as – “Coronavirus Disease 2019” (abbreviated “COVID-19”) which is a respiratory infection.
- This was first reported from China in December 2019.
How does the COVID-19 virus infection spread?
- The mode of transmission is through droplets (minute particles of the secretions coughed/sneezed out by the sufferer).
- These droplets are produced when a person coughs or sneezes and you are likely to be infected if you are within a distance of 1 meter or 3 feet from the person carrying the virus.
- The virus can enter the body of close contacts through the eyes. nose and mouth.
- The virus survives for up to 9 days on surfaces on which the droplets land (fomites)., so touching these surfaces and then touching the face can transfer such viruses to healthy persons.
- Survivals of virus increases in cold and humid weather.
- It can also spread by close contact with someone who has recently visited countries that have reported this disease like China, South Korea, Japan, Italy, Iran etc, as it can take 2-14 days for the symptoms to manifest after contact.
When should you suspect that you have COVID-19 Virus infection?
- A history of recent travel to countries with a high incidence of the disease( e.g. China, South Korea, Japan, Iran. Italy etc- the list is growing) OR
- A history of close contact with someone who has tested positive for the disease OR
- A history of close contact with someone who has recently visited these countries even if they do not have any symptoms, as it can take 2-14 days for the symptoms to manifest after contact.
The presence of 2 or more the following symptoms:
Fever, dry cough, fatigue or body-ache, breathlessness
What are the common symptoms of COVID-19 virus infection?
Fever, dry cough. fatigue or body-ache or breathlessness are the common symptoms.
Can a doctor confirm if a person has COVID-19 virus infection by physical examination?
No, a doctor cannot confirm whether a person is suffering from Novel Coronavirus infection by physical examination as it resembles any other viral respiratory illness. Confirmation requires testing in NIV Pune.
How is COVID-19 virus infection diagnosed?
Diagnosis of Novel Coronavirus infection is done in the laboratory on nasal and throat swab by a special test specific for nCoV.
Who should be tested for COV1D-19 virus infection?
If You have traveled abroad and returned to India, then for the next 14 days please stay quarantined at home (i.e stay in a room and reduce contact with fewer people). If you develop symptoms mentioned in Q3 or in case of “possible contact” history and 2 or more of the above-mentioned symptoms (as per Question 3) then you should visit Naidu hospital.
Where should one get tested if the suspected has a COVID-19 virus infection?
In Pune region, if one is suspected to have Novel Coronavirus infection, they should go to Naidu Infectious Disease Hospital (Behind Pune Railway Station, off Wellesley road), where the required samples (throat swab or nasopharyngeal secretions) will be collected and sent for testing (to NIV Pune). At present, this test is not available in private labs or hospitals. While traveling to the hospital, the person should wear a mask.
Should I be concerned if I have the COVID-19 virus infection?
Novel Coronavirus infection is usually mild in healthy individuals but may be severe in the elderly or in patients with longstanding medical conditions such as lung disease, cancer, heart disease, kidney disease. liver disease, diabetes, lowered immunity conditions, and pregnancy.
Do I need to get admitted if I have confirmed with COVID-19 virus infection 2019 ?
As per the current guidelines, if you have NIV confirmed Novel Coronavirus infection it is compulsory to be admitted.
How can I protect myself from COVID-19 Virus infection?
- Avoid crowded areas and handshakes.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water. Use hand sanitizer only when soap and water are not available.
- Do not touch your face and rub your eyes.
- Take adequate rest, drink plenty of fluids and eat healthy nutritious food.
- It has been suggested that drinking warm water with haldi helps in improving immunity.
What should I do if I have symptoms of fever, dry cough or breathlessness and how can the spread of infection be prevented?
- Avoid self – medication and contact a doctor immediately. Communicate details of your travel history to the treating physician.
- Wear a mask and avoid contact with others.
- Always cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing with a disposable tissue or cloth or placing your arm over your mouth and nose. Discard disposable tissue in a closed container and expose to sunlight for 10 mins before discarding.
- If using a cloth/handkerchief, make sure others do not come in contact with it. Wash with soap and hot water.
- Avoid sharing handkerchief, napkins. clothes etc with others.
- Used disposable masks should be boiled in water for 10 mins before discarding
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water. Use hand sanitiser only when soap and water are not available.
Who should wear a mask?
- Only the persons who are infected or have respiratory symptoms should wear a mask so as to prevent the spread of infection. Healthcare providers who are in close contact with such persons should wear masks.
- Others need not but if you want to you can fold a hanky three times and use as a mask.
Are there any drugs or vaccines to prevent or protect myself from this infection?
At present there is no specific drug or vaccine available for prevention or treatment of this infection. Drink plenty of fluids and take rest.
Government of India
Ministry of Health & Family Welfare
Directorate General of Health Services (EMR Division)
Guidelines for home quarantine
Detection of a travel related/unrelated suspect case of novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID¬19) will be followed by rapid isolation of such cases in designated health facilities and line listing of all contacts of such cases. Home quarantine is applicable to all such contacts of a suspect or confirmed case of COVID-19.
This intervention will be limited to the initial phase of India reporting only (i) travel related cases and (ii) focal clusters arising from a travel related/unrelated case where cluster containment strategy is adopted (iii) Persons coming from COVID-19 affected areas where local and community transmission is evident.
Definition of contact
A contact is defined as a healthy person that has been in such association with an infected person or a contaminated environment as to have exposed and is therefore at a higher risk of developing disease.
A contact in the context of COVID-19 is:
- A person living in the same household as a COVID-19 case;
- A person having had direct physical contact with a COVID-19 case or his/her infectious secretions without recommended personal protective equipment (PPE) or with a possible breach of PPE
- A person who was in a closed environment or had face to face contact with a COVID-19 case at a distance of within 1 meter including air travel;
The epidemiological link may have occurred within a 14-day period before the onset of illness in the case under consideration.
Instructions for contacts being home quarantined
The home quarantined person should:
- Stay in a well-ventilated single-room preferably with an attached/separate toilet. If another family member needs to stay in the same room, it’s advisable to maintain a distance of at least 1 meter between the two.
- Needs to stay away from elderly people, pregnant women, children and persons with co-morbidities within the household.
- Restrict his/her movement within the house.
- Under no circumstances attend any social/religious gathering e.g. wedding, condolences, etc.
He should always also follow the under mentioned public health measures at all times:
- Wash hand as often thoroughly with soap and water or with alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- Avoid sharing household items e.g. dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, bedding, or other items with other people at home.
- Wear a surgical mask at all the time. The mask should be changed every 6-8 hours and disposed off. Disposable masks are never to be reused.
- Masks used by patients / care givers/ close contacts during home care should be disinfected using ordinary bleach solution (5%) or sodium hypochlorite solution (1%) and then disposed of either by burning or deep burial.
- Used mask should be considered as potentially infected.
- If symptoms appear (cough/fever/difficulty in breathing), he/she should immediately inform the nearest health centre or call 011-23978046.
Instructions for the family members of persons being home quarantined
- Only an assigned family member should be tasked with taking care of the such person
- Avoid touching the soiled linen or direct contact with skin
- Use disposable gloves when cleaning the surfaces or handling soiled linen
- Wash hands after removing gloves
- Visitors should not be allowed
- In case the person being quarantined becomes symptomatic, all his close contacts will be home quarantined (for 14 days) and followed up for an additional 14 days or till the report of such case turns out negative on lab testing
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces in the quarantined person’s room (e.g. bed frames, tables etc.) daily with 1% Sodium Hypochlorite Solution.
- Clean and disinfect toilet surfaces daily with regular household bleach solution/phenolic disinfectants
- Clean the clothes and other linen used by the person separately using common household detergent and dry.