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Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Most people infected with the virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. However, some will become seriously ill and require medical attention. Older people and those with underlying medical conditions like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, or cancer are more likely to develop serious illness. Anyone can get sick with COVID-19 and become seriously ill or die at any age. 

The best way to prevent and slow down transmission is to be well informed about the disease and how the virus spreads. Protect yourself and others from infection by staying at least 1 metre apart from others, wearing a properly fitted mask, and washing your hands or using an alcohol-based rub frequently. Get vaccinated when it’s your turn and follow local guidance.



To prevent infection and to slow transmission of COVID-19, do the following: 

  • Get vaccinated when a vaccine is available to you.

  • Stay at least 1 metre apart from others, even if they don’t appear to be sick.

  • Wear a properly fitted mask when physical distancing is not possible or when in poorly ventilated settings.

  • Choose open, well-ventilated spaces over closed ones. Open a window if indoors.

  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water or clean them with alcohol-based hand rub.

  • Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.

  • If you feel unwell, stay home and self-isolate until you recover.

The best way to prevent and slow down transmission is to be well informed about the COVID-19 virus, the disease it causes and how it spreads. Protect yourself and others from infection by washing your hands or using an alcohol based rub frequently and not touching your face. 

The COVID-19 virus spreads primarily through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose when an infected person coughs or sneezes, so it’s important that you also practice respiratory etiquette (for example, by coughing into a flexed elbow).


How does it spread?

  • Current evidence suggests that the virus spreads mainly between people who are in close contact with each other, for example at a conversational distance. The virus can spread from an infected person’s mouth or nose in small liquid particles when they cough, sneeze, speak, sing or breathe. Another person can then contract the virus when infectious particles that pass through the air are inhaled at short range (this is often called short-range aerosol or short-range airborne transmission) or if infectious particles come into direct contact with the eyes, nose, or mouth (droplet transmission).

  • The virus can also spread in poorly ventilated and/or crowded indoor settings, where people tend to spend longer periods of time. This is because aerosols can remain suspended in the air or travel farther than conversational distance (this is often called long-range aerosol or long-range airborne transmission).

  • People may also become infected when touching their eyes, nose or mouth after touching surfaces or objects that have been contaminated by the virus. 



  • COVID-19 affects different people in different ways. Most infected people will develop mild to moderate illness and recover without hospitalization.

  • Most common symptoms:

  • fever

  • cough

  • tiredness

  • loss of taste or smell.

  • Less common symptoms:

  • sore throat

  • headache

  • aches and pains

  • diarrhoea

  • a rash on skin, or discolouration of fingers or toes

  • red or irritated eyes.

  • Serious symptoms:

  • difficulty breathing or shortness of breath

  • loss of speech or mobility, or confusion

  • chest pain.

  • Seek immediate medical attention if you have serious symptoms.  Always call before visiting your doctor or health facility. People with mild symptoms who are otherwise healthy should manage their symptoms at home. 

  • On average it takes 5–6 days from when someone is infected with the virus for symptoms to show, however it can take up to 14 days. 


What is the latest types of COVID-19?

The geographic distribution of circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOCs), including the prevalence and summary of current evidence of the Omicron variant. We also provide updates on vaccine effectiveness for the Delta and Omicron variants


What to Do If You Are COVID-19 Positive?

If you test positive for COVID-19 and have one or more health conditions that increase your risk of becoming very sick, treatment may be available. Contact a health professional right away after a positive test to determine if you may be eligible, even if your symptoms are mild right now. Don’t delay: Treatment must be started within the first few days to be effective.


 If you were exposed



If you are sick or test positive


Quarantine and stay away from others when you have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19.

Isolate when you are sick or when you have COVID-19, even if you don’t have symptoms.

Steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 if you are sick:

If you are sick with COVID-19 or think you might have COVID-19, follow the steps below to care for yourself and to help protect other people in your home and community.

  1. Stay home except to get medical care

  2. Get tested

  3. Separate yourself from other people

  4. Monitor your symptoms

  5. Call ahead before visiting your doctor

  6. If you are sick, wear a well-fitting mask

  7. Cover your coughs and sneezes

  8. Clean your hands often

  9. Avoid sharing personal household items

  10. Clean surfaces in your home regularly

  11. Take steps to improve ventilation at home