Coronavirus Information

What is Coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a family of virus that includes the common cold, SARS and MERS. The most recent COVID-19 outbreak involves a new strain that previously had not been identified in humans.

 Main Signs and Symptoms 

  • Coughing/Sneezing
  • Fever
  • Pneumonia
  • Difficulty breathing 

How is Coronavirus Transmitted? 

The virus lives in the droplet of water in an infected person’s respiratory system. If they sneeze, cough or touch their mouth, these particles can spread. These particles can then land in the mouth or nose of uninfected people or be inhaled. 

How to Protect Yourself

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser if soap and water are not available. This is particularly important after taking public transport.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • When you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth with a tissue, then throw the tissue in a bin.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces in the home and work environment.

Treatment

There is no known treatment for COVID-19, nor has a vaccine been developed.

The Medical Research Council Unit The Gambia at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine is the testing centre for COVID-19 in The Gambia. COVID-19 testing is facilitated by our partners at the Ministry of Health.

Our target turnaround time (TAT) for providing test results to the Ministry of Health is 24 hours from when the sample is received at our Unit in Fajara. The waiting period for samples collected from remote locations would include the time it took to deliver them to the lab. 

Please note that the current waiting period internationally ranges from 2 to 4 days or more. For example, Public Health Ontario Canada has a TAT of 4 days, and some commercial test providers in South Africa indicate 2-4 days TAT.

This page will be updated daily to provide information on the number of tests conducted, and the results from these tests. Do check back regularly to stay updated on our COVID-19 diagnostics support to the Ministry of Health.  

Termination of Daily COVID-19 Diagnostics Reports from MRCG at LSHTM

With effect from 4th June, the Unit will no longer share daily diagnostics reports on social media and our website. While we will continue to conduct testing as part of our support to the national COVID-19 response efforts, reporting will be done through the Ministry of Health’s channels. We encourage members of the public to follow the daily COVID-19 Situation Reports from the Ministry for relevant information.

03 June 2020

Samples Tested     –     New:  28 Suspected Cases Tested – New: 28
                                  Total: 1969                                         Total: 1793
Cases Tested Positive –  New: 0   Cases Tested Negative  – New: 28
                                      Total: 26                                         Total: 1836

02 June 2020

Samples Tested     –     New:  53 Suspected Cases Tested – New: 20
                                  Total: 1941                                         Total: 1765
Cases Tested Positive –  New: 1   Cases Tested Negative  – New: 49
                                      Total: 26                                         Total: 1808

01 June 2020

Samples Tested     –     New:  33 Suspected Cases Tested – New: 32
                                  Total: 1888                                         Total: 1745
Cases Tested Positive –  New: 0   Cases Tested Negative  – New: 33
                                      Total: 25                                         Total: 1759

30 May 2020

Samples Tested     –     New:  31 Suspected Cases Tested – New:  31
                                  Total: 1855                                         Total: 1713
Cases Tested Positive –  New: 0   Cases Tested Negative  – New:  31
                                      Total: 25                                         Total: 1726

29 May 2020

Samples Tested     –     New:   7 Suspected Cases Tested – New:   2
                                 Total: 1824                                         Total: 1682
Cases Tested Positive –  New: 0   Cases Tested Negative  – New:   4
                                      Total: 25                                         Total: 1695

28 May 2020

Samples Tested     –     New: 19 Suspected Cases Tested – New: 10
                                 Total: 1817                                         Total: 1680
Cases Tested Positive –  New: 0   Cases Tested Negative  – New: 19
                                      Total: 25                                         Total: 1691

27 May 2020

Samples Tested     –     New: 20 Suspected Cases Tested –  New: 4
                                 Total: 1798                                         Total: 1670
Cases Tested Positive –  New: 0   Cases Tested Negative  – New: 19
                                      Total: 25                                         Total: 1672

*1 repeat test on active case gave positive results

26 May 2020

Samples Tested     –     New: 53 Suspected Cases Tested – New: 52
                                 Total: 1778                                         Total: 1666
Cases Tested Positive –  New: 0   Cases Tested Negative  – New: 53
                                      Total: 25                                         Total: 1653

25 May 2020

Samples Tested     –     New: 17 Suspected Cases Tested – New: 10
                                 Total: 1725                                         Total: 1614
Cases Tested Positive –  New: 0   Cases Tested Negative  – New: 14
                                      Total: 25                                         Total: 1600

22 May 2020

Samples Tested     –     New: 124 Suspected Cases Tested – New: 117
                                  Total: 1708                                          Total: 1604
Cases Tested Positive –  New: 1   Cases Tested Negative  – New: 123
                                      Total: 25                                          Total: 1586

21 May 2020

Samples Tested     –      New: 12 Suspected Cases Tested – New: 4
                                  Total: 1584                                       Total: 1487
Cases Tested Positive –  New: 0   Cases Tested Negative  – New: 9
                                      Total: 24                                       Total: 1463

*3 repeat tests on active cases gave positive results

20 May 2020

Samples Tested     –      New:  9 Suspected Cases Tested – New:  8
                                  Total: 1567                                        Total: 1475
Cases Tested Positive –  New: 0   Cases Tested Negative  – New: 9
                                      Total: 24                                        Total: 1498

19 May 2020

Samples Tested     –      New: 19 Suspected Cases Tested – New:  8
                                  Total: 1558                                        Total: 1467
Cases Tested Positive –  New: 0  Cases Tested Negative* – New: 16
                                      Total: 24                                        Total: 1489

 *3 repeat tests on active cases gave positive results

18 May 2020

Samples Tested     –      New: 22 Suspected Cases Tested –New: 16
                                  Total: 1539                                        Total: 1459
Cases Tested Positive –  New: 1   Cases Tested Negative – New: 21
                                      Total: 24                                        Total: 1470

16 May 2020

Samples Tested     –      New: 14 Suspected Cases Tested –New: 14
                                  Total: 1517                                        Total: 1443
Cases Tested Positive –  New: 0   Cases Tested Negative – New: 14
                                      Total: 23                                        Total: 1449

15 May 2020

Samples Tested     –      New: 96 Suspected Cases Tested –New: 86
                                  Total: 1503                                        Total: 1429
Cases Tested Positive –  New: 0   Cases Tested Negative – New: 96
                                      Total: 23                                        Total: 1435

14 May 2020

Samples Tested     –      New: 11 Suspected Cases Tested –New: 10
                                  Total: 1407                                        Total: 1343
Cases Tested Positive –  New: 0   Cases Tested Negative – New: 11
                                      Total: 23                                        Total: 1339

13 May 2020

Samples Tested     –      New: 24 Suspected Cases Tested –New: 17
                                  Total: 1396                                        Total: 1333
Cases Tested Positive –  New: 0   Cases Tested Negative – New: 24
                                      Total: 23                                        Total: 1328

12 May 2020

Samples Tested     –      New: 79 Suspected Cases Tested –New: 71
                                  Total: 1372                                        Total: 1316
Cases Tested Positive –  New: 1   Cases Tested Negative – New: 78
                                      Total: 23                                        Total: 1304

11 May 2020

Samples Tested     –      New: 45 Suspected Cases Tested –New: 43
                                  Total: 1293                                        Total: 1245
Cases Tested Positive –  New: 2   Cases Tested Negative – New: 41
                                      Total: 22                                        Total: 1226

09 May 2020

Samples Tested     –      New: 93 Suspected Cases Tested –New: 90
                                  Total: 1248                                        Total: 1202
Cases Tested Positive –  New: 0   Cases Tested Negative – New: 93
                                      Total: 20                                        Total: 1185

08 May 2020

Samples Tested     –      New: 77 Suspected Cases Tested –New: 76
                                  Total: 1155                                        Total: 1112
Cases Tested Positive –  New: 2   Cases Tested Negative – New: 75
                                      Total: 20                                        Total: 1092

07 May 2020

Samples Tested     –     New: 194 Suspected Cases Tested –New: 194
                                   Total: 1077                                          Total: 1036
Cases Tested Positive –  New: 1   Cases Tested Negative – New: 192
                                      Total: 18                                          Total: 1017

06 May 2020

Samples Tested     –     New: 160 Suspected Cases Tested –New: 160
                                    Total: 881                                           Total: 842
Cases Tested Positive –  New: 0   Cases Tested Negative – New: 160
                                      Total: 17                                           Total: 825

05 May 2020

Samples Tested     –     New: 161 Suspected Cases Tested –New: 161
                                    Total: 721                                           Total: 682
Cases Tested Positive –  New: 0   Cases Tested Negative – New: 161
                                      Total: 17                                           Total: 665

04 May 2020

Samples Tested     –      New: 11 Suspected Cases Tested –New: 11
                                    Total: 560                                         Total: 521
Cases Tested Positive –  New: 0  Cases Tested Negative – New: 11
                                      Total: 17                                         Total: 504

02 May 2020

Samples Tested     –      New: 28 Suspected Cases Tested –New: 28
                                    Total: 549                                         Total: 510
Cases Tested Positive –  New: 5  Cases Tested Negative* – New: 11
                                      Total: 17                                         Total: 491

    *2 samples gave indeterminate results and will be resampled.

01 May 2020

Samples Tested     –      New: 25 Suspected Cases Tested –New: 24
                                    Total: 518                                         Total: 483
Cases Tested Positive –  New: 0   Cases Tested Negative – New: 25
                                      Total: 12                                         Total: 472

30 April 2020

Samples Tested     –      New: 22 Suspected Cases Tested –New: 22
                                    Total: 493                                         Total: 459
Cases Tested Positive –  New: 1   Cases Tested Negative – New: 21
                                      Total: 12                                         Total: 447

29 April 2020

Samples Tested     –      New: 24 Suspected Cases Tested –New: 24
                                    Total: 471                                         Total: 437
Cases Tested Positive –  New: 1   Cases Tested Negative – New: 23
                                      Total: 11                                         Total: 426

28 April 2020

Samples Tested     –      New: 33 Suspected Cases Tested –New: 32
                                    Total: 447                                         Total: 413
Cases Tested Positive –  New: 0   Cases Tested Negative – New: 33
                                      Total: 10                                         Total: 403

27 April 2020

Samples Tested     –      New:  2 Suspected Cases Tested –New:  2
                                    Total: 416                                         Total: 383
Cases Tested Positive –  New: 0   Cases Tested Negative – New:  2
                                      Total: 10                                         Total: 373

24 April 2020

Samples Tested     –      New:  6 Suspected Cases Tested –New:  2
                                    Total: 404                                         Total: 371
Cases Tested Positive –  New: 0   Cases Tested Negative – New:  6
                                      Total: 10                                         Total: 361

23 April 2020

Samples Tested     –      New: 30 Suspected Cases Tested –New: 30
                                    Total: 398                                         Total: 369
Cases Tested Positive –  New: 0   Cases Tested Negative – New: 30
                                      Total: 10                                         Total: 359

22 April 2020

Samples Tested     –      New:  6 Suspected Cases Tested –New:  2
                                    Total: 368                                         Total: 339
Cases Tested Positive –  New: 0   Cases Tested Negative – New:  6
                                      Total: 10                                         Total: 329

21 April 2020

Samples Tested     –      New: 29 Suspected Cases Tested –New: 29
                                    Total: 362                                          Total: 337
Cases Tested Positive –  New: 0   Cases Tested Negative – New: 29
                                      Total: 10                                          Total: 327

19 April 2020

Samples Tested     –      New: 23 Suspected Cases Tested –New: 16
                                    Total: 333                                          Total: 308
Cases Tested Positive –  New: 1   Cases Tested Negative – New: 22
                                      Total: 10                                          Total: 298

17 April 2020

Samples Tested     –      New: 9 Suspected Cases Tested – New: 8
                                   Total: 310                                         Total: 292
Cases Tested Positive – New: 0   Cases Tested Negative –  New: 8
                                       Total: 9                                         Total: 283

16 April 2020

Samples Tested     –      New: 5 Suspected Cases Tested – New: 4
                                   Total: 301                                         Total: 284
Cases Tested Positive – New: 0   Cases Tested Negative –  New: 4
                                       Total: 9                                         Total: 275

15 April 2020

Samples Tested     –      New: 5 Suspected Cases Tested – New: 5
                                   Total: 296                                         Total: 280
Cases Tested Positive – New: 0   Cases Tested Negative –  New: 5
                                       Total: 9                                         Total: 271

14 April 2020

Samples Tested     –      New: 6 Suspected Cases Tested – New: 5
                                   Total: 291                                         Total: 275
Cases Tested Positive – New: 0   Cases Tested Negative –  New: 5
                                       Total: 9                                         Total: 266

13 April 2020

Samples Tested     –      New: 6 Suspected Cases Tested – New: 6
                                   Total: 285                                         Total: 270
Cases Tested Positive – New: 0   Cases Tested Negative –  New: 6
                                       Total: 9                                         Total: 261

11 April 2020

Samples Tested     –     New: 76 Suspected Cases Tested – New: 76
                                   Total: 279                                          Total: 264
Cases Tested Positive – New: 5   Cases Tested Negative –  New: 70
                                       Total: 9                                          Total: 255

Inconclusive test: 1

10 April 2020

Samples Tested     –      New: 4 Suspected Cases Tested –  New: 4
                                   Total: 203                                          Total: 188
Cases Tested Positive – New: 0   Cases Tested Negative –   New: 4
                                       Total: 4                                          Total: 184

9 April 2020

Samples Tested     –      New: 6 Suspected Cases Tested –  New: 6
                                   Total: 199                                          Total: 184
Cases Tested Positive – New: 0   Cases Tested Negative –   New: 6
                                       Total: 4                                          Total: 180

8 April 2020

Samples Tested     –     New: 21 Suspected Cases Tested – New: 19
                                   Total: 193                                          Total: 178
Cases Tested Positive – New: 0   Cases Tested Negative –  New: 19
                                       Total: 4                                          Total: 174

7 April 2020

Samples Tested     –     New: 39 Suspected Cases Tested – New: 39
                                   Total: 172                                          Total: 159
Cases Tested Positive – New: 0   Cases Tested Negative – New: 38*
                                       Total: 4                                          Total: 154

*The results for one of the samples was inconclusive. A retest will be done for a final result.

6 April 2020

Samples Tested     –      New: 3 Suspected Cases Tested –  New: 3
                                   Total: 133                                          Total: 120
Cases Tested Positive – New: 0   Cases Tested Negative –  New: 3
                                       Total: 4                                          Total: 116

3 April 2020

Samples Tested     –      New: 5 Suspected Cases Tested –  New: 5
                                   Total: 130                                          Total: 117
Cases Tested Positive – New: 0   Cases Tested Negative –  New: 5
                                       Total: 4                                          Total: 113

2 April 2020

Samples Tested     –     New: 16 Suspected Cases Tested – New: 14
                                   Total: 125                                          Total: 112
Cases Tested Positive – New: 0   Cases Tested Negative – New: 14
                                       Total: 4                                          Total: 108

1 April 2020

Samples Tested     –     New: 11 Suspected Cases Tested – New: 11
                                   Total: 109                                           Total: 98
Cases Tested Positive – New: 0   Cases Tested Negative – New: 11
                                       Total: 4                                           Total: 94

31 March 2020

Samples Tested     –       New: 5 Suspected Cases Tested –  New: 3
                                      Total: 98                                           Total: 87
Cases Tested Positive – New: 0   Cases Tested Negative – New: 3
                                       Total: 4                                          Total: 83

30 March 2020

Samples Tested     –     New: 14 Suspected Cases Tested – New: 12
                                     Total: 93                                            Total: 85
Cases Tested Positive – New: 0  Cases Tested Negative –  New: 12
                                       Total: 4                                            Total: 80

28 March 2020

Samples Tested     –     New: 23 Suspected Cases Tested – New: 23
                                     Total: 79                                            Total: 72
Cases Tested Positive – New: 1  Cases Tested Negative –  New: 22
                                       Total: 4                                            Total: 68

27 March 2020

Samples Tested     –     New: 5 Suspected Cases Tested – New: 4
                                     Total: 56                                          Total: 49
Cases Tested Positive – New: 0  Cases Tested Negative – New: 4
                                       Total: 3                                          Total: 46

26 March 2020

Samples Tested     –     New: 6 Suspected Cases Tested – New: 5
                                     Total: 52                                          Total: 45
Cases Tested Positive – New: 0  Cases Tested Negative – New: 5
                                       Total: 3                                          Total: 42

24 March 2020

Samples Tested     –     New: 16 Suspected Cases Tested – New: 16
                                     Total: 45                                           Total: 40
Cases Tested Positive – New: 0  Cases Tested Negative – New: 16
                                       Total: 3                                           Total: 37

22 March 2020

Samples Tested     –     New: 3 Suspected Cases Tested – New: 2
                                     Total: 29                                          Total: 24
Cases Tested Positive – New: 1  Cases Tested Negative – New: 1
                                       Total: 3                                          Total: 21

21 March 2020

Samples Tested     –     New: 3 Suspected Cases Tested – New: 3
                                     Total: 26                                           Total: 22
Cases Tested Positive – New: 1  Cases Tested Negative – New: 22
                                       Total: 2                                           Total: 20

20 March 2020

Samples Tested     –     New: 1 Suspected Cases Tested – New: 0
                                     Total: 23                                          Total: 19
Cases Tested Positive – New: 0  Cases Tested Negative – New: 0
                                       Total: 1                                          Total: 18

19 March 2020

Samples Tested     –     New: 4 Suspected Cases Tested – New: 4
                                     Total: 22                                          Total: 19
Cases Tested Positive – New: 0  Cases Tested Negative – New: 4
                                       Total: 1                                          Total: 18

18 March 2020

Samples Tested     –     New: 1 Suspected Cases Tested – New: 1
                                     Total: 18                                          Total: 15
Cases Tested Positive – New: 0  Cases Tested Negative – New: 1
                                       Total: 1                                          Total: 14

17 March 2020

Samples Tested     –     New: 5 Suspected cases tested – New: 5
                                     Total: 17                                          Total: 14
Cases Tested Positive – New: 1  Cases Tested Negative – New: 4
                                       Total: 1                                          Total: 13

15 March 2020

Samples Tested     –     New: 1 Suspected Cases Tested – New: 1
                                     Total: 12                                           Total: 9
Cases Tested Positive – New: 0  Cases Tested Negative – New: 1
                                       Total: 0                                           Total: 9

14 March 2020

Samples Tested     –     New: 3 Suspected Cases Tested – New: 3
                                     Total: 11                                           Total: 8
Cases Tested Positive – New: 0  Cases Tested Negative – New: 3
                                       Total: 0                                           Total: 8

10 March 2020

Samples Tested     –     New: 2 Suspected Cases Tested – New: 1
                                     Total: 8                                           Total: 5
Cases Tested Positive – New: 0  Cases Tested Negative – New: 1
                                       Total: 0                                           Total: 5

9 March 2020

Samples Tested     –     New: 1 Suspected Cases Tested – New: 1
                                     Total: 6                                           Total: 4
Cases Tested Positive – New: 0  Cases Tested Negative – New: 1
                                       Total: 0                                           Total: 4

27 February 2020

Samples Tested     –     New: 1 Suspected Cases Tested – New: 1
                                     Total: 5                                           Total: 3
Cases Tested Positive – New: 0  Cases Tested Negative – New: 1
                                       Total: 0                                           Total: 3

17 February 2020

Samples Tested     –     New: 2 Suspected Cases Tested – New: 0
                                     Total: 4                                           Total: 2
Cases Tested Positive – New: 0  Cases Tested Negative – New: 0
                                       Total: 0                                           Total: 0

15 February 2020

Samples Tested     –     New: 2 Suspected Cases Tested – New: 2
                                     Total: 2                                           Total: 2
Cases Tested Positive – New: 0  Cases Tested Negative – New: 2
                                       Total: 0                                           Total: 2

 

Our Laboratory Management values its relationship with colleagues across the country. Please click this link to access and view the laboratory manual which provides laboratory tests available and their requirements. External clients can refer to the laboratory manual and the laboratory request forms below to complete and forward to laboratory management by sending to labcare@mrc.gm

As part of our preparedness response to COVID-19, our Clinical Services Department has developed and shared the below series of SOPs, flowcharts and guidelines focused on the clinical management of suspected and confirmed COVID-19 cases. The documents cover critical aspects of patient management and transmission prevention, and may be particularly useful as part of an early-phase COVID-19 response.

Each document is available to download and was designed to serve as a flexible template, which can be easily adapted according to clinical setting and/or regional specifications.

2019 novel Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19) Executive Summary

Self-Isolation

Flowcharts

SOPs

Checklists

Checklist for Negative Pressure Rooms

25 March 2020

The Medical Research Council Unit The Gambia at LSHTM is continuously monitoring the developments on the COVID19 pandemic. We have developed this FAQ to respond to the questions we have been receiving, as well as some key questions that can be helpful, with reference to the World Health Organization guidelines.

This FAQs will be updated as the situation changes, especially in The Gambia. Please check back regularly to get the most up-to-date information.

What is Coronavirus?

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. 

What is 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.

Is there any case of COVID19 in The Gambia?

Yes. The Gambia confirmed its first positive case of COVID-19 on 17th March 2020. To see the total number of cases and details on testing in The Gambia, please click on the Daily Diagnostics Report tab above.  

Are contacts of the confirmed COVID19 case being traced?

Yes. The Ministry of Health has teams in place to ensure urgent contact tracing. Those identified as close contacts are now being quarantined, and will be tested, in line with the decision to test all persons in quarantine before they are released.

Is it possible to get the COVID19 testing done in The Gambia?

Yes. The Medical Research Council Unit The Gambia at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine provides the COVID-19 testing in The Gambia, and this is done in close collaboration with the Ministry of Health. The Unit is also providing support to the Ministry to facilitate testing at the National Public Health Laboratories. 

How can I get tested for COVID19?

Our facilities are not open to walk-in requests for testing at the moment. COVID19 testing is facilitated by our partners at the Ministry of Health. All persons who may be observing COVID-19 symptoms should contact the Ministry of Health by calling the national helpline 1025 from any network, free of charge. Please follow the guidance you will receive.

Is testing free of charge?

The Unit is not charging any fees for the testing of suspected COVID19 cases.

Is there any testing site other than the MRC?
 

At present, the MRC Unit The Gambia at LSHTM is the only testing centre in The Gambia. Tests are being conducted in collaboration with the Ministry of Health.

Is it safe to attend public events and gatherings?
 

The Gambia government has issued directives to limit public gatherings and encourage social distancing. Please refer to current directives from the Gambia Government website.

How likely am I to catch COVID-19?

The 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.

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.

You can see these at https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/situation-reports/

Are antibiotics effective in preventing or treating COVID-19?

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.

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.

Is there a vaccine, drug, or treatment for COVID-19?

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 COVID-19.

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).

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.

WHO 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.

How long is the incubation period for COVID-19?

The “incubation period” means the time between catching the virus and beginning to have symptoms of the disease. Most estimates of the incubation period for COVID-19 range from 1-14 days, most commonly around five days. These estimates will be updated as more data become available.

Can humans become infected with the COVID-19 from an animal source?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in animals. Occasionally, people get infected with these viruses which may then spread to other people. For example, SARS-CoV was associated with civet cats and MERS-CoV is transmitted by dromedary camels. Possible animal sources of COVID-19 have not yet been confirmed.

To protect yourself, such as when visiting live animal markets, avoid direct contact with animals and surfaces in contact with animals. Ensure good food safety practices at all times. Handle raw meat, milk or animal organs with care to avoid contamination of uncooked foods and avoid consuming raw or undercooked animal products.

How long does the virus survive on survivors?

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.

Is there anything I should not do?

The following measures ARE NOT effective against COVID-2019 and can be harmful:

  • Smoking
  • 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.

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