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In December 2019, a novel coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2 was detected in patients with pneumonia connected to the cluster of acute respiratory illness cases from Wuhan, China. In February, the SARS-CoV-2 virus became better known as COVID-19. Within 3 months, the COVID-19 virus spread and infected 118 000 persons across 114 countries with 4291 related deaths. On March 11, 2020 the WHO officially announced COVID-19 as a pandemic.

How is it Spread?

People can become infected with COVID-19 from others who are infected the virus. Transmission of the virus occurs through small droplets that are spread when a person coughs, sneezes or exhales. These droplets can inadvertently be inhaled or acquired by touching your eyes, nose or mouth after coming in contact with a contaminated surface. The virus may survive on objects or surfaces for up to 3 days. We, therefore, recommend hand-washing thoroughly, avoid touching your face, and maintaining 2 metres (6 feet) while practicing physical distancing.

Signs and Symptoms

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some patients may develop body aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. About 80% of people who are infected will recover from the disease without needing special treatment. Around 1 out of every 6 people infected with COVID-19 become seriously ill and develop difficulty breathing.


If you develop symptoms, use the BC COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool ( to help determine if you need further assessment or testing for COVID-19. You can complete this assessment for yourself, or on behalf of someone else, if they are unable to.


Currently there are no approved specific treatments or vaccines against COVID-19 infection. For now, treatment is primarily aimed at supporting symptoms.

There are studies investigating treatment options. Click here to read more about a study treatment for those who test positive for COVID-19.



COVID-19. European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control

Coronavirus disease 2019. World Health Organization

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If you have tested positive for COVID-19, you may qualify for treatment through a clinical trial.

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