Covid-19: Reduce the Panic, Know the Facts


The South African Government declared the spread of COVID-19 a National Disaster. Here’s why you shouldn’t panic:

The basics

The newly discovered virus known as COVID-19 or Coronavirus was first identified in Wuhan, China in December 2019.

It is a contagious condition which means the virus can be spread through direct and indirect contact form one person to another. This involves your respiratory tract (nose, throat, and lungs).

How does the virus spread?

An infected person can spread the virus to a healthy person through:

  • The eyes, nose, and mouth via droplets that are formed when one coughs or sneezes
  • Direct physical contact
  • Contact with contaminated surfaces like personal items and objects

Is the Coronavirus deadly?

The virus is highly contagious but has a low mortality rate. The mortality range of the virus (MR) is normally between 2-3%. This is significantly lower than the 2003 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (MR: 10%) or the 2012 Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MR: 35%) outbreaks.

Older people (above the age of 60 years) and people with underlying health issues have a higher risk of getting the virus and dying because of it.

Only 2% of all reported cases are under the age of 18 and 3% of those cases have developed serious and critical conditions.

Symptoms of the Coronavirus

About 80% of people have mild symptoms and recover within two weeks. Most of the symptoms can be treated with timely medical care. These include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Muscle Pain

The symptoms are similar to that of a cold and flu and may start 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. The severity of the symptoms differs from person to person.

Don’t panic if you have a fever, cold or a sore throat. Here are some self-care tips:

  • Inhale steam 2-3 times a day to reduce congestion
  • Wash your hands regularly to prevent the virus from spreading
  • Drink lots of water and get enough rest
  • See a doctor if your condition worsens
  • Take your prescribed medication

Protect yourself, your loved ones and your community

  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose, and mouth with your hands
  • Wash your hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Keep a distance of about 1m from anyone that coughs or sneezes
  • Don’t shake hands rather say Awê. See demonstration:
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue and immediately throw it away
  • If you are feeling sick, wear a mask and self-isolate
  • If you are feeling feverish, have a cough and can’t breathe properly, please seek medical care
  • Don’t spread fake news, make sure the information is correct and comes from medical experts

For any enquiries:

  • Call the Coronavirus Hotline on 0800 029 999 OR
  • Join the WhatsApp group and text “Hi” to 0600 123 456 OR
  • Visit the website on

Remember 80% of people recover without getting any special treatment. Spread awareness but not fake news and be safe.