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Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Questions

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Find out steps to prevent Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).
What is the 2019 Novel Coronavirus?
2019 Novel Coronavirus is a new type of respiratory virus from the coronavirus family which was first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.
Why is it called Novel Coronavirus?
Novel means new and Novel Coronavirus means a new type of coronavirus that has not been identified previously.
Where does it come from?
It is believed from the sample taken from the infected patients, the virus traced back to the local exotic market in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.
How does the virus infect humans?
The virus does infect from human-to-human although originally it may infect from animal-to-human. The mode of transmission is still unclear but as with other respiratory viruses, it may infect through water droplets (from sneezing or coughing).
Can the virus transmit from human to human?
Yes it can.
How long is the incubation period?
Incubation period is the period when a person first contacted with the infection to when the first symptom appears. It is thought that the Novel Coronavirus 2019 incubation period is 14 days. It means, an infected person may not show any symptom up to 14 days
Is it infectious during the incubation period?
It is not known whether the virus can infect during incubation period or not. Researchers believed it can be due to how quick it spread across the globe. However, since this virus is still new, no conclusion can be given at this moment regarding its ability to infect during incubation period.
Is this virus the same as MERs-Cov or SARS virus?
No it is not the same. However, 2019 Novel Coronavirus belongs to the same family which causes MERs-Cov and SARS outbreak, that is coronavirus.
Is it the same as the influenza virus?
No. Influenza virus and coronavirus are not the same and totally belong to entirely different virus families despite some similarities with the symptoms.
How do I protect myself from being infected by this virus?
These are the guidelines from Centre of Disease Control (CDC):
  • MWash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
Can I get vaccinated against the 2019 Novel Coronavirus?
So far there is no vaccine that is able to prevent a person from getting infected with this virus.
Is this virus derived from a vaccine?
No. The virus is thought to be evolving from coronavirus that infected wild animals and later infects humans.
Does facemask protect me from this virus?
Facemask is not 100% proven to protect you against 2019 Coronavirus but it does lower your risk of getting it provided if other preventive measures are also taken.
Which mask should I use to protect myself?
You can use the 3 or 2 layered surgical masks that are easily and cheap to find in many convenient stores and pharmacies. You may also use the N95 mask that can be repeatedly used compared to the surgical mask.
What should I do if I had close contact with someone who got infected by this virus?
You should monitor closely your health for any signs of symptoms such as fever, coughing, shortness of breath and others up to 14 days. If you have any of the symptoms, please report to your healthcare provider immediately.
What are the symptoms of an infected person?
Symptoms of infected persons are such as:
  1. Fever
  2. Coughing
  3. Shortness of breath
  4. Body ache
  5. Sore throat
  6. Headache
  7. Runny nose
How long does it take for symptoms to appear?
It can take up to 14 days before the first symptom can appear.
What should I do if I have symptoms?
You should report to the nearest healthcare provider and make sure you note them as well of those who are confirmed or being evaluated for the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. You are also advised to avoid any place with crowds and from going to work or school.
What are the complications that can occur if someone is infected by 2019 Coronavirus?
Serious complications include pneumonia, respiratory failure, septic shock and even death.
How do you test a person for the 2019 Coronavirus?
High risk people will be tested with their blood taken and sent for viral genetic confirmation called Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) for confirmation.
Should I get tested?
The decision of whether a person needs to be checked is depending on the doctor's evaluation of the patient's history and risks. If a person develops symptoms such as fever and respiratory symptoms and has close contact or travelled from/to Wuhan, China in the last 14 days, he/she will be further evaluated for diagnostic testing.
How can I get tested for the 2019 Novel Coronavirus?
The decision of whether a person needs to be checked is depending on the doctor's evaluation of the patient's history and risks. If a person develops symptoms such as fever and respiratory symptoms and has close contact or travelled from/to Wuhan, China in the last 14 days, he/she will be further evaluated for diagnostic testing.
Is it safe to travel to China?
The situation is still evolving and as the World Health Organisation (WHO) issued, the number of cases and death are still on the rise in China and thus CDC has advised to avoid any non-essential travel to China at the moment.
Is it safe to travel to other countries?
Travelling to other countries other than China is still considered safe despite the risk of this disease to spread globally as strict measures are taken by every country to minimise the risk.
Can my child go to school?
Your child can go to school as usual unless he/she develops one of the symptoms and has had contact with suspected or confirmed patients of this virus. Follow closely with the school in case it needs to be closed down for the outbreak reason.
I recently travelled to China and got sick after I came back. What should I do?
You should report and go to your nearest healthcare provider as soon as possible. Delaying in presenting yourself may bring more harm.
Should I quarantine myself if I just got back from China?
You are advised to closely monitor for any signs of the symptoms within 14 days while taking strict preventive measure per CDC or MOH guidelines. Avoid going to crowded places until you are definitely sure there are no symptoms after 14 days.
What is the risk of getting infected from parcels or products received from China?
Since 2019 Coronavirus is more similar to SARS virus, it is not entirely sure if it can spread or infects people receiving parcels or products from China. It is thought that the chances of this to happen is very low since the survival of the virus is limited outside its host at ambient temperature.
Is it safe to consume animal or animal products imported from China?
There is no evidence so far to suggest the risk of getting infected from the animal or its products imported from China. Since the risk is still on the rise, it is better to take safe precautions and avoid any unnecessary animal products imported from China.
Can pets or animals transmit 2019 Novel Coronavirus?
The first few cases of 2019 Coronavirus may have transmitted from animal to human but now it is from human-to-human transmission. There is no evidence or reason to suggest pets to transmit the virus.
Can animals get infected from human?
The 2019 Coronavirus is not known to infect animals or not but the risk is still there as the virus can transmit from animal-to-human.
How deadly is the virus?
The virus can cause mild symptoms to severe complications such as respiratory failure and even death.
Is there a treatment or cure for this virus?
The 2019 Coronavirus is currently being treated with the same medications used on HIV patients in China.
How many deaths has been caused by this virus?
As up to 30/01/2020, the official death figure released by WHO is at 170 people.
Does infection by this virus means death?
It does not necessarily cause death to people as currently there are more than 8000 positive infected people but only 170 deaths recorded so far.
Who is at risk?
Children, old people, pregnant women, cancer and chronic illness patients, people with long-term respiratory illness and people travelling to China or with close contact with suspected/confirmed patients.
Can it infect healthy people?
Yes it can.
Should I avoid certain food?
Eat a healthy and balanced diet and avoid exotic food or imported food and food from dirty restaurants/stalls.
Should I avoid consuming food imported from China?
There is no evidence to suggest all food imported from China poses risk of transmitting the virus. As for now, it is better to consume locally produced food.
Does taking vitamin C help?
There is no evidence to suggest the role of vitamin C in fighting off the infection.
What kind of supplement should I take?
There are no supplements or products advisable for people to take regarding this outbreak as there is no evidence to support any of the supplements or products sold out there.
How bad is the situation of this infection in Malaysia?
Currently there are only 7 positive cases recorded but no death regarding this infection here in Malaysia so far.
How can I assess myself from home before visiting the hospital if I am unwell?
You can use a home thermometer and if you have one of the symptoms plus with close contact with people from China or have recently travelled from/to China in the last 14 days, you should seek immediate medical help.
Which hospitals can I go to if I feel unwell?
You can go to any government or private hospital if you are feeling unwell.
Can I collect my own phlegm to be sent for testing?
It is not advisable for you to collect your own phlegm as this may cause contamination and thus inaccuracy. If you are suspected of having the infection, doctors at the hospital will do all the investigation and assessment on you.
If you cook an infected animal, can it kill the virus?
It is not known if this virus can be killed when the animal is being cooked. People should avoid exotic and infected animals even if they are being cooked.
Can I still travel to China or Hong Kong?
The CDC has issued advice to avoid visiting China at the moment. Countries with high prevalence also should be avoided if there is no necessity.
Can antibiotics kill this virus?
Antibiotics cannot kill any viruses including the 2019 Coronavirus.
What is the role of DoctorOnCall during this outbreak?
DoctorOnCall is collaborating with the Minister of Health (MOH) to spread correct, factual and uptodate information regarding the 2019 Coronavirus to the public.
Where can I find more information or updates about 2019 Coronavirus?
You can visit the MOH official websites/portal or the Public Health Malaysia Facebook page as well as follow us at www.doctoroncall.com.my/coronavirus for further concise and accurate information on this matter.
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