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Corona - What You Need to Know

COVID 19 is a respiratory illness caused by a new strain of Coronavirus


COVID 19 is a respiratory illness caused by a new strain of coronavirus. Humans have never seen this virus before, hence our bodies don’t have strong defenses to stop it from infecting us.

From what we know from doctors and the way it has behaved in other countries, COVID 19 can be transmitted easily (high infectivity). One person who is infected usually infects 1 to 4 persons, and this is why authorities talk about exponential growth in number of cases.

The virus seems to have started from China, but now has spread to most countries of the world, clearly a pandemic. Initially most people around the world developed the illness as they caught the virus while travelling and due to contacts along the travel. However now within each country people are passing it on to others locally (local transmission).


The virus transmits via droplets. This means that a person who has been infected with COVID 19, could transmit the virus when they cough or sneeze, where droplets from their nose and mouth could fall directly on another person’s face, or on surfaces around them. When these surfaces are touched by others, and they touch their eyes, nose or mouth with the contaminated hand, then this other person could get the disease.


A person who comes into contact with the virus can develop the symptoms of the disease 2 to 14 days after. This is why a person who may have come into contact with this disease are asked to quarantine themselves for the next 14 days.  In case they develop the disease, by quarantining themselves, they then do not spread  the disease to others and reduce the number of people who get infected.  A person who is infected can transmit the disease even before they develop symptoms.


Symptoms of COVID 19 illness are commonly fever, cough and sore throat. Others might have body aches and diarrhea. Young people who have a good immune system usually have a mild illness, but older people and those with a weakened immune system, and those suffering from diabetes, hypertension and cancers can have serious breathing difficulties and may require ventilator and ICU treatment, and may also succumb to death.


In Summary

  • Is highly infectious

  • Can cause mild symptoms in most but can be very serious in the older people and those with other medical conditions

  • Can spread before symptoms are shown

  • Each person can infect up to 4 people (sometimes even more) if not careful

  • When many people are sick at the same time it can overwhelm the health care system, which will lead to more deaths

For further information, please visit epid.gov.lk

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