Coronavirus Health Advice

COVID-19 poses a serious health risk to everyone, especially the most vulnerable including migrants, asylum seekers and refugees. Because most of the world is not yet vaccinated, and because of new variants of COVID-19 which prove to transmit faster, prevention is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. This page offers general health advice and information on how to keep safe during the Coronavirus pandemic.

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Coronaviruses (CoV) 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).

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is a new strain that was discovered in 2019 and has not been previously identified in humans. COVID-19 is difficult to detect and control as many people carrying the disease often display no symptoms. 

Scientists believe that it is highly likely that the virus originated in bats and passed through an intermediary animal before infecting humans. 

COVID-19 has now spread to nearly every country in the world since it first emerged in China and millions of people are known to have been infected by the virus. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) designated COVID-19 as the official name for the disease, previously known as ‘novel coronavirus’. The name COVID-19 is derived from the first letters of the words ‘coronavirus’, ‘virus’ and ‘disease’.

People with COVID-19 often display a wide range of symptoms – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. These symptoms may appear between 2 – 14 days after exposure to the virus.

Common signs of infection include:

  • New continuous cough
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

Other less common symptoms include nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. In severe cases, the virus can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and possible death.

If you have any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 contact your local healthcare provider and self isolate for 14 days

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks. The virus could also spread by touching a contaminated object or surface, and then touching the mouth, nose or eyes but it is primarily spread through the respiratory droplets of people in close contact. Additionally, new strains of COVID-19 can be spread through the air in some settings, particularly in poorly ventilated and/or crowded indoor spaces.

If you are a migrant or person seeking asylum during the virus outbreak, you should take precautionary measures to avoid catching and spreading COVID-19. The following tips can help stop the virus from spreading further:

  • Frequent handwashing 
    • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after sneezing or coughing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid close contact with others
    • The World Health Organization advises that you should maintain a safe distance of at least 1 metre (3 feet) between yourself and others. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick such as the elderly and those with respiratory issues.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes
    • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow, and throw used tissues in the rubbish bin and immediately wash your hands.
  • Cover your mouth and nose
    • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face mask if you are in a public space. These should not be placed on young children under the age of 2.
    • Ensure you maintain a safe distance (1m) between yourself and others even whilst wearing a mask.
    • Cloth face covers are designed to protect other people in case you are infected.

Please click here for more information on the myths and rumors related to COVID-19

There are now several vaccines that are in use which protect against COVID-19 by helping your body develop an immunity to the virus. Having immunity can help your body fight the virus if you’re exposed, and can help protect you against the most more serious consequences. Getting vaccinated is particularly important to protect people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19, such as healthcare providers, older or elderly adults, and people with other medical conditions. Vaccination protects you from getting seriously ill and dying from COVID-19, but it does not guarantee that you will not become infected.

While the vaccine can help protect you and those around you from serious illness, researchers and organisations like the WHO are still learning about how the vaccine will work in the long-term, especially in consideration of new variants of COVID. To help keep you and others safe, continue to practice proper hygiene such as washing your hands, coughing or sneezing into your elbow, wearing a mask, and keeping distance from others. Always follow the guidance from your local authorities.

The Delta variant is a variant of COVID-19 which is concerning researchers and international health authorities because of how easily transmissible it is. As of early July 2021, the Delta variant has been reported in 96 countries and we expect that the Delta variant will continue to spread. According to the WHO, the world remains largely susceptible to infection, including the Delta variant. 

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