What is Coronavirus or Covid-19?
- Coronaviruses are a type of virus. There are many different kinds, and some cause disease. Since 2019 the world has been dealing with a pandemic of a coronavirus, (SARS-CoV-2) commonly called COVID-19.
- COVID-19 can pass from person to person. (Ministry of Health NZ)
- COvid-19 has been responsible for the deaths of many millions of people around the world.
- There are vaccines to help prevent the spread of Covid-19
- There are medicines, including more under development that mitigate the impact of Covid-19 if you catch it.
- There are many variants of Covid-19
What does it do
- COVID-19 symptoms include cough, fever or chills, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, muscle or body aches, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell, diarrhea, headache, new fatigue, nausea or vomiting and congestion or runny nose. COVID-19 can be severe, and some cases have caused death. The new coronavirus can be spread from person to person. It is diagnosed with a laboratory test. (John Hopkins University)
- Most common types of human coronavirus usually cause mild to moderate upper-respiratory-tract illnesses, like the common cold. These illnesses usually only last for a short amount of time. Symptoms may include:
- runny nose
- sore throat
- a general feeling of being unwell.
(Health Navigator NZ)
- People with COVID-19 may:
- have a cough
- have a high temperature of at least 38°C on a thermometer – this is when you would feel very hot
- find it hard to breath
- have a sore throat
- sneeze and have a runny nose
- not be able to smell things for a little while.
Where did COVID-19 come from?
COVID-19 was first reported in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. It has since been reported in other provinces and in other countries. The latest information on this is available on the World Health Organization website.
Can I get free health care related to COVID-19, even though I am not usually eligible for publicly funded health services in New Zealand?
Yes. In New Zealand, publicly funded COVID-19 related care – including diagnosis, testing and treatment – is provided to anyone who requires it, who has symptoms. This is irrespective of citizenship, visa status, nationality or level of medical insurance coverage.
All care, including assessment and treatment, is free of charge to the person. This covers all care in primary or secondary settings, including COVID-19 related general practice assessments, community testing, and hospital care.
People still need to pay the usual fees for any other health care.
For guidance on any health issues, you can call Healthline free on 0800 611 116 or contact Family Health Matters on 09 973 4106.
Healthline also has a number just for COVID-19 enquiries – call 0800 358 5453
How long can COVID-19 remain on surfaces?
COVID-19 is spread by droplets and contact with surfaces that infectious droplets have landed on. This means that when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks, they may generate droplets containing the virus. These droplets are too large to stay in the air for long, so they quickly settle on surrounding surfaces.
COVID-19 can survive on different surfaces for different lengths of time. This is dependent on the surface, temperature and humidity. Further information on how long the COVID-19 virus can survive for can be found on the WHO website.
People need to continue to regularly clean frequently touched surfaces and objects and wash hands. If you are using disinfectant, follow the instructions for use and check whether you need to wear gloves. Remember to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and dry thoroughly after cleaning and disinfecting.
Help and advice in other languages:
Please feel free to download these resources from the Ministry of Health. Click on the resource you want and then use the back button of your browser to return here.
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