FAQ on Coronavirus, adapted from World Health Organisation
Q: What is a coronavirus?
A: Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans. In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The most recently discovered coronavirus causes coronavirus disease COVID-19.
Q: What is COVID-19?
A: COVID-19 is the
infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. This new
virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in
Q: What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
A: 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. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don’t feel unwell. Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment. Around 1 out of every 6 people who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness. People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention. (FAQ on Coronavirus)
Q: How does COVID-19 spread?
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. These droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person. Other
people then catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching
their eyes, nose or mouth. People can also catch COVID-19 if they breathe in
droplets from a person with COVID-19 who coughs out or exhales droplets. This
is why it is important to stay more than 1 meter (3 feet) away from a person
who is sick. WHO is assessing ongoing research on the ways COVID-19 is spread
and will continue to share updated findings.
FAQ on Coronavirus: What can I do to protect myself and prevent the spread of disease?
Protection measures for everyone
aware of the latest information on the COVID-19 outbreak, available on the WHO
website and through your national and local public health authority. Many
countries around the world have seen cases of COVID-19 and several have seen
outbreaks. Authorities in China and some other countries have succeeded in
slowing or stopping their outbreaks. However, the situation is unpredictable so
check regularly for the latest news.
can reduce your chances of being infected or spreading COVID-19 by taking some
- Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.
Why? Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.
- Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
Why? When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.
- Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.
Why? Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.
- Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.
Why? Droplets spread virus. By following good respiratory hygiene you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19.
- Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.
Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on the situation in your area. Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also protect you and help prevent spread of viruses and other infections.
- Keep up to date on the latest COVID-19 hotspots (cities or local areas where COVID-19 is spreading widely). If possible, avoid traveling to places – especially if you are an older person or have diabetes, heart or lung disease.
Why? You have a higher chance of catching COVID-19 in one of these areas. (FAQ on Coronavirus)
Protection measures for persons
who are in or have recently visited (past 14 days) areas where COVID-19 is
- Follow the guidance outlined above (Protection measures for everyone)
- Self-isolate by staying at home if you begin to feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache, low-grade fever (37.3 C or above) and slight runny nose, until you recover. If it is essential for you to have someone bring you supplies or to go out, e.g. to buy food, then wear a mask to avoid infecting other people.
Why? Avoiding contact with others and visits to medical facilities will allow these facilities to operate more effectively and help protect you and others from possible COVID-19 and other viruses.
- If you develop fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical advice promptly as this may be due to a respiratory infection or other serious condition. Call in advance and tell your provider of any recent travel or contact with travellers.
Why? Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also help to prevent the possible spread of COVID-19 and other viruses.
Q: How likely am I to catch COVID-19?
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. Governments
and health authorities are taking vigorous action every time a new case of
COVID-19 is identified. Be sure to comply with any local restrictions on
travel, movement or large gatherings. Cooperating with disease control efforts
will reduce your risk of catching or spreading COVID-19.
outbreaks can be contained and transmission stopped, as has been shown in China
and some other countries. Unfortunately, new outbreaks can emerge rapidly. It’s
important to be aware of the situation where you are or intend to go. WHO
publishes daily updates on the COVID-19 situation worldwide.
Q: Should I worry about 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.
We can channel our concerns into actions to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our communities. First and foremost among these actions is regular and thorough hand-washing and good respiratory hygiene. Secondly, keep informed and follow the advice of the local health authorities including any restrictions put in place on travel, movement and gatherings. (FAQ on Coronavirus)
Q: Who is at risk of developing severe illness?
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. This was a common FAQ on Coronavirus.
Q: Are antibiotics effective in preventing or treating the COVID-19?
A: No. Antibiotics do not work against viruses, they only work on bacterial infections. COVID-19 is caused by a virus, so antibiotics do not work. Antibiotics should not be used as a means of prevention or treatment of COVID-19. They should only be used as directed by a physician to treat a bacterial infection. (FAQ on Coronavirus)
Q: Are there any medicines or therapies that can prevent or cure COVID-19?
While some western, traditional or home remedies may provide comfort and alleviate symptoms of COVID-19, there is no evidence that current medicine can prevent or cure the disease. WHO does not recommend self-medication with any medicines, including antibiotics, as a prevention or cure for COVID-19. However, there are several ongoing clinical trials that include both western and traditional medicines. WHO will continue to provide updated information as soon as clinical findings are available. (FAQ on Coronavirus)
Q: Is there a vaccine, drug or treatment for COVID-19?
A: 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.
Possible vaccines and some specific drug treatments
are under investigation. They are being tested through clinical trials. WHO is
coordinating efforts to develop vaccines and medicines to prevent and treat
most effective ways to protect yourself and others against COVID-19 are to
frequently clean your hands, cover your cough with the bend of elbow or tissue,
and maintain a distance of at least 1 meter (3 feet) from people who are
coughing or sneezing. (See Basic protective measures
against the new coronavirus).
Q: Is COVID-19 the same as SARS?
While some western, traditional or home remedies may provide comfort and
alleviate symptoms of COVID-19, there is no evidence that current medicine can
prevent or cure the disease. WHO does not recommend self-medication with any
medicines, including antibiotics, as a prevention or cure for COVID-19.
However, there are several ongoing clinical trials that include both western
and traditional medicines. WHO will continue to provide updated information as
soon as clinical findings are available.
Q: Should I wear a mask to protect myself?
Only wear a mask if you are ill with COVID-19 symptoms (especially coughing) or
looking after someone who may have COVID-19. Disposable face mask can only be
used once. If you are not ill or looking after someone who is ill then you are
wasting a mask. There is a world-wide shortage of masks, so WHO urges people to
use masks wisely.
advises rational use of medical masks to avoid unnecessary wastage of precious
resources and mis-use of masks (see Advice on the use of masks).
The most effective ways to protect yourself and others against COVID-19 are to frequently clean your hands, cover your cough with the bend of elbow or tissue and maintain a distance of at least 1 meter (3 feet) from people who are coughing or sneezing. See basic protective measures against the new coronavirus for more information. (FAQ on Coronavirus)
Q: How to put on, use, take off and dispose of a mask?
- Remember, a mask should only be used by health workers, caretakers, and individuals with respiratory symptoms, such as fever and cough.
- Before touching the mask, clean hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water
- Take the mask and inspect it for tears or holes.
- Orient which side is the top side (where the metal strip is).
- Ensure the proper side of the mask faces outwards (the coloured side).
- Place the mask to your face.
- Pinch the metal strip or stiff edge of the mask so it moulds to the shape of your nose.
- Pull down the mask’s bottom so it covers your mouth and your chin.
- After use, take off the mask; remove the elastic loops from behind the ears while keeping the mask away from your face and clothes, to avoid touching potentially contaminated surfaces of the mask.
- Discard the mask in a closed bin immediately after use.
- Perform hand hygiene after touching or discarding the mask – Use alcohol-based hand rub or, if visibly soiled, wash your hands with soap and water. (FAQ on Coronavirus)
Q: How long does the virus survive on surfaces?
A: 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).
If you think a surface may be
infected, clean it with simple disinfectant to kill the virus and protect
yourself and others. Clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash
them with soap and water. Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, or nose.
Q: Is it safe to receive a package from any area where COVID-19 has been
Yes. The likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low
and the risk of catching the virus that causes COVID-19 from a package that has
been moved, travelled, and exposed to different conditions and temperature is
Q: Is there anything I should not do?
A: The following measures ARE
NOT effective against COVID-2019 and can be harmful:
- Wearing multiple masks
- Taking antibiotics (See question 10 “Are there any medicines of therapies that can prevent or cure COVID-19?“)
- In any case, if you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing seek medical care early to reduce the risk of developing a more severe infection and be sure to share your recent travel history with your health care provider.
FAQ on Coronavirus: Is the source of the coronavirus causing COVID-19 known?
Currently, the source of SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus (CoV) causing COVID-19 is
unknown. All available evidence suggests that SARS-CoV-2 has a natural animal
origin and is not a constructed virus. SARS-CoV-2 virus most probably has its
ecological reservoir in bats. SARS-CoV-2, belongs to a group of genetically
related viruses, which also include SARS-CoV and a number of other CoVs
isolated from bats populations. MERS-CoV also belongs to this group, but is
less closely related.
Q: How did the first human SARS-CoV-2 infections occur?
A: The first human cases of
COVID-19 were identified in Wuhan City, China in December 2019. At this stage,
it is not possible to determine precisely how humans in China were initially
infected with SARS-CoV-2.
However, SARS-CoV, the virus
which caused the SARS outbreak in 2003, jumped from an animal reservoir (civet
cats, a farmed wild animal) to humans and then spread between humans. In a
similar way, it is thought that SARS-CoV-2 jumped the species barrier and
initially infected humans, but more likely through an intermediate host, that
is another animal species more likely to be handled by humans – this could be a
domestic animal, a wild animal, or a domesticated wild animal and, as of yet,
has not been identified.
Until the source of this virus
is identified and controlled, there is a risk of reintroduction of the virus in
the human population and the risk of new outbreaks like the ones we are
FAQ on Coronavirus: I have been asking my self, what people gain from spreading fake news?
A: The energy you put in to develop fake news should have been used to create a better content for the good of the nation
Q: Please, I have dry cough, headaches,chest pains and my throat is itching me been sneezing too. What do I do now?
A: Adhere to all precautions as listed by health authorities. Call NCDC toll free number to report yourself, avoid contact with other people and stay at home until the Health practitioners attend to you.
Q: But then warm water early in the morning is
good for your health?
A: This is good for your health,
however, note that it doesn’t cure nor does it prevent coronavirus.
FAQ on Coronavirus: So what are the social structures put in place to ensure Nigerians stay safe?
A: The federal government has placed a ban on all movement to enable people to stay safe during this period. Other measures are being taken by health authorities. However, we all have a responsibility to #StoptheSpread and stay safe by adhering to all the hygiene rules and staying healthy.
FAQ on Coronavirus: Do we still have international flights coming into this country? If yes, why?
A: All international flights have been banned and borders closed.
To this a preventive measure for the containment of the wide spread of the