What are Coronaviruses?

Coronaviruses are a large group of viruses that are common among animals. In rare cases, they are what scientists call zoonotic, meaning they can be transmitted from animals to humans, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a dangerous diseases with incubation period between 4-6 days. It is fatal especially for those with weakened immune system, the elderly and the very young. It could also result in Pneumonia and bronchitis.

How it spreads

Viruses can spread from human contact with animals and also from human to human.

When it comes to human-to-human transmission of the viruses, often it happens when someone comes into contact with the infected person’s secretions. The exposure factors are;

  • a cough
  • sneeze or
  • handshake

The virus can also be transmitted by touching something an infected person has touched and then touching your mouth, nose or eyes.

Signs and Symptoms

The viruses can make people sick. Coronavirus symptoms include;

  1. fever
  2. a runny nose
  3. cough
  4. sore throat
  5. possibly a headache


There is no vaccine to protect against this family of viruses. Reduce your risk of infection by

  • Wash your hands with soap and water before touching anything including your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze
  • Disinfect the objects and surfaces you touch.
  • If you are sick, stay home and avoid crowds and contact with others.


  • There is no specific treatment. Most of the time, symptoms will go away on their own.
  • Doctors can relieve symptoms by prescribing a pain or fever medication.
  • A room humidifier or a hot shower can help with a sore throat or cough.
  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Get rest and sleep as much as possible.
  • If symptoms feel worse than a standard cold, see your doctor

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Question: What is COVID-19?

Answer: COVID-19 are a large family of viruses that are known to cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

Question: What is a novel COVID-19?

Answer: A novel COVID-19 is a new strain of COVID-19 that has not been previously identified in humans. 

Question:  Can humans become infected with COVID-19 of animal source?

Answer: Detailed investigations found that SARS-CoV was transmitted from civet cats to humans in China in 2002 and MERS-CoV from dromedary camels to humans in Saudi Arabia in 2012. Several known COVID-19 are circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans.  As surveillance improves around the world, more COVID-19 are likely to be identified.

Question: What are the symptoms of someone infected with COVID-19?

Answer: It depends on the virus, but common signs include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath, and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death. 

Question: Can COVID-19 be transmitted from person to person?

Answer: Yes, some COVID-19 can be transmitted from person to person, usually after close contact with an infected patient, for example, in a household workplace, or health care centre.

Question: Is there a vaccine for a novel COVID-19?

Answer: When a disease is new, there is no vaccine until one is developed. It can take a number of years for a new vaccine to be developed

Question: Is there a treatment for a COVID-19?

Answer: There is no specific treatment for disease caused by a COVID-19. However, many of the symptoms can be treated and therefore treatment based on the patient’s clinical condition. Moreover, supportive care for infected persons can be highly effective.

Question: What can I do to protect myself?

Answer: Standard recommendations to reduce exposure to and transmission of a range of illnesses include maintaining basic hand and respiratory hygiene, and safe food practices and avoiding close contact, when possible, with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.

Question: Are health workers at risk from a COVID-19?

Answer: Yes, they can be, as health care workers come into contact with patients more often than the general public WHO recommends that health care workers consistently apply appropriate infection prevention and control measures.

Question: What is the country doing to prevent the virus from entering the country?

Intense surveillance for suspected severe acute respiratory infections to be picked and tested for confirmation.

Public Health preparedness plans have been prepared and ready to be activated in the event of a pandemic in line with the International Health Regulations (2005).

Risk communication activities have been planned and aspects of it has started such as granting radio and TV interviews and port education on the virus.

Question: Where can I find more information about known COVID-19?

Source: Ghana Health Service (GHS) website




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