COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by a newly identified coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2. The current COVID-19 outbreak originated in Wuhan, China, in late 2019, and lead the World Health Organization (WHO) to characterise the outbreak as a pandemic on 11 March 2020.
Symptoms of COVID-19 vary by case but typically include fever, dry cough, and fatigue. Some patients may experience myalgias, nasal congestion, conjunctivitis, loss of taste and/or smell, rash, sore throat and/or diarrhoea. People should seek immediate medical attention if they experience difficulty breathing, chest pain or pressure, and loss of speech or movement.
Onset of symptoms is typically gradual and worsen over time; however, not all infected patients will feel ill or become symptomatic. Most people who contract COVID-19 will develop mild to moderate symptoms and recover without the need for hospital treatment. Research to date suggests that COVID-19 is primarily transmitted when aerosols or droplets containing the virus are inhaled or come into direct contact with the eyes, nose or mouth. People may also become infected when they touch their eyes, nose or mouth after having touched surfaces that have been contaminated with COVID-19.