The novel coronavirus (COVID-19), as most of you have undoubtedly heard, is a coronavirus that was identified from a serious outbreak of respiratory illness first reported in Wuhan, China on 31 December 2019. The virus has infected more than 130,000 individuals globally and has killed nearly 5,000 people as of 13 March 2020. Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) has officially declared COVID-19 as a pandemic.
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by a novel coronavirus discovered in 2019. It spreads from person to person via small droplets when an infected individual coughs, sneezes or exhales. You can be infected with the virus if you breathe in the droplets exhaled or coughed from an infected person, or when you touch surfaces that have been infected by the virus.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough and shortness of breath. Other symptoms observed in some patients include runny nose, sore throat, nasal congestion or diarrhoea. COVID-19 symptoms usually start off as mild. It is important to note that some individuals can be infected for 2 to 14 days before developing the above-mentioned symptoms.
Individuals who have an increased risk of developing a serious illness are the elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.
Who should get tested for COVID-19?
You should get tested for COVID-19 if you have the symptoms mentioned above or have had contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case. You should also get tested if you have recently travelled to countries or areas where COVID-19 is spreading.
Where can I get tested for COVID-19 in Malaysia?
Depending on whether you are a Person Under Investigation (PUI) for COVID-19 or not, you can get tested for COVID-19 at selected hospitals across Malaysia, as well as at selected BioMark participating clinics. It is advised to call the clinic 2 to 3 days in advance to make an appointment for a COVID-19 screening test. You can also get your test results delivered directly to your BioMark App.
How can we prevent the spread of COVID-19?
Everyone has a part to play in preventing the spread of COVID-19. Here are some COVID-19 prevention tips:
- Wash your hands with soap regularly, especially after being out in public
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
- If you are feeling unwell, stay home and minimize contact with people
The bottom line
Practising good personal hygiene and being socially responsible is absolutely crucial when it comes to preventing and containing the spread of COVID-19. It is strongly urged for individuals with symptoms to seek medical attention promptly.