Frequently Asked Questions
Protection measures for everyone
Stay aware of the latest information on the COVID-19 outbreak, available on the websites and social media of the national Department of Health (www.health.gov.za), National Institute for Communicable Diseases (www.nicd.ac.za) and World Health Organization (www.who.int).
Most people who become infected will experience mild illness and recover, but it can be more severe for others. Take care of your health and protect others by doing the following:
- Regularly and thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water or clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitiser. Why? Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand sanitiser kills viruses that may be on your hands.
- Maintain at least one meter distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing. Why? When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain a virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.
- Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth. Why? Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.
- Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used
tissue immediately. Why? Droplets spread viruses. By following good respiratory hygiene you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19.
- Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health facility. Why? The national and provincial Departments of Health will have the most up to date information on the situation in your area. Calling in advance will allow your healthcare provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also protect you and help prevent spread of viruses and other infections.
- Stay informed on the latest developments about COVID-19. Follow advice given by your healthcare provider and the national Department of Health on how to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on whether COVID-19 is spreading in your area. They are best placed to advise on what people in your area should be doing to protect themselves.
Protection measures for persons who are in or have recently visited (past 14 days) areas where COVID-19 is spreading
- Stay at home if you begin to feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and slight runny nose, until you recover. Why? Avoiding contact with others and visits to medical facilities will allow these facilities to operate more effectively and help protect you and others from possible COVID-19 and other viruses.
- If you develop fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical advice promptly as this may be due to a respiratory infection or other serious condition. Call in advance and tell your provider of any recent travel or contact with travellers. Why? Calling in advance will allow your healthcare provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also help to prevent possible spread of COVID-19 and other viruses.
If there is an outbreak of COVID-19 in South Africa and you are in an area where there are cases of COVID-19 you need to take the risk of infection seriously. Follow the advice issued by national and local Departments of Health. Although for most people COVID-19 causes only mild illness, it can make some people very ill. More rarely, the disease can be fatal. Older people, and those with pre-existing medical conditions (such as high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes) appear to be more vulnerable.
Possible vaccines and some specific drug treatments are under investigation. They are being tested through clinical trials. The World Health Organization (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 one meter from people who are coughing or sneezing.
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 one meter from people who are coughing or sneezing.
If you think a surface may be infected, clean it with simple disinfectant to kill the virus and protect yourself and others. Wash your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitiser. Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, or nose.
- taking traditional herbal remedies
- wearing multiple masks
- taking self-medication such as antibiotics
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 healthcare provider.