About coronavirus and COVID-19
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.
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 December 2019. COVID-19 is now a pandemic affecting many countries globally.
How COVID-19 is spread
People can catch COVID-19 from others who have the virus. The disease spreads primarily from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth, which are expelled when a person with COVID-19 coughs, sneezes, or speaks. These droplets are relatively heavy, do not travel far and quickly sink to the ground. People can catch COVID-19 if they breathe in these droplets from a person infected with the virus. This is why it is important to stay at least 1 meter away from others. These droplets can land on objects and surfaces around the person such as tables, doorknobs and handrails. People can become infected by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. This is why it is important to wash your hands regularly with soap and water or clean with alcohol-based hand rub.
Several dogs and cats (domestic cats and tigers) in contact with infected humans have tested positive for COVID-19.However, there is no evidence that these animals can transmit the disease to humans and spread COVID-19. COVID-19 is mainly spread through droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or speaks.
Studies have shown that the COVID-19 virus can survive for up to 72 hours on plastic and stainless steel, less than 4 hours on copper and less than 24 hours on cardboard.
The time between exposure to COVID-19 and the moment when symptoms start is commonly around five to six days but can range from 1 – 14 days.
Signs and symptoms of COVID-19 include:
- Running Nose (flu)
- General Weakness
- Difficulty in breathing if the patient develops pneumonia
Prevention of COVID-19
The most effective ways to protect yourself and others against COVID-19 are to:
- Always clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.
- Cover your cough with the bend of elbow or tissue. If a tissue is used, discard it immediately and wash your hands.
- Put on face masks.
- Maintain a distance of at least 1 metre from others.
For more resourceful information:
Uganda Civil Aviation Authority: Covid-19 Notices – Civil Aviation Authority (caa.go.ug)
Africa CDC’s COVID-19 Dashboard:
CDC Laboratory testing for COVID-19:
COVID-19 Technical guidance publications:
COVID-19 important quick links:
General Questions and Answers (Q & A):
Uganda Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 Information resources:
Timeline: WHO’s COVID-19 response:
WHO Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Dashboard: