Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19
The Novel Coronavirus Disease, designated COVID-19 by the World Health Organization, is an infectious disease. A study of the samples taken from patients has led experts to conclude on January 7 that the virus causing the disease is of the Coronavirus family, as in the SARS (2002) and MERS (2012) outbreaks, and the virus was designated as the Novel Coronavirus 2019 (2019-nCoV).
The known incubation period of COVID-19 is 1 to 14 days, most commonly around 5 days. The most common symptoms are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don't feel unwell. Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment. Around 1 out of every 6 people who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness. People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention.
People can catch COVID-19 from others who have the virus. The disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales. These droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person. Other people then catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. People can also catch COVID-19 if they breathe in droplets from a person with COVID-19 who coughs out or exhales droplets. This is why it is important to stay more than 2 meters (6 feet) away from a person who is sick.
Call ahead to a healthcare professional if you develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or difficulty breathing. Tell your healthcare professional about any recent travel or contact with people infected with COVID-19. Your healthcare professional will work with the TC Public Health Department to determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19.
The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. No vaccine has yet been developed against the virus, and therefore, the basic principles for avoiding acute respiratory tract infections also apply to the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). During the winter months, when many viruses that cause respiratory tract infections (influenza, the common cold viruses etc.) circulate among humans, the following precautions are recommended against all respiratory tract viruses, including 2019-nCoV.
- Practice good hand hygiene. Hands should be washed frequently, particularly after being in a public place, or having direct contact with people suffering from illness and their environments. Wash with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. When soap is unavailable, alcohol-based hand antiseptics should be used. There is no need to use special soaps that contain antiseptic and antibacterial agents. Normal soap is sufficient.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick, including those infected with the seasonal flu. In the physical proximity of such individuals, a distance of at least 2 meters should be kept whenever possible.
- If you have recently returned to Turkey from abroad, self-quarantine by staying at home for 14 days.
- 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 authority.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Follow the CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask:
- The CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
- Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for people who are taking care of someone in close settings [https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/hcp/infection-control.html](at home or in a health care facility).
For information about handwashing, see CDC’s Handwashing website
For information specific to healthcare, see CDC’s Hand Hygiene in Healthcare Settings
Healthy individuals with no respiratory symptoms such as coughing do not need to wear medical masks. But masks can be used if the individual will be staying for extended periods in crowded spaces where air circulation is limited. The use of medical masks is recommended if you have respiratory symptoms. Hands should be cleaned after disposing of the mask.
There are no epidemiological findings so far which suggest that contact with goods or products shipped from countries that are affected by the Novel Coronavirus outbreak has caused infection. There is no need to use masks when coming into contact with cargo from a country where Novel Coronavirus infections have been seen. The use of gloves is also not necessary, except for protection against possible mechanical hazards that can arise from contact with rough surfaces.