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COVID-19 Advice and Guidance

Formerly known as Coronavirus 2019-nCoV

Download PDF - Last Updated 20th April 2020

Arco has compiled this guidance document in response to the outbreak of COVID-19 that was first reported from Wuhan, China, in December 2019. The below information is based on the guidance issued by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Public Health England.

What is COVID-19? Symptoms of COVID-19 Transmission and Risks of COVID-19 Arco Reponse Team

What is COVID-19?

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that are common across the world and cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).

COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus that has not been previously identified in humans. It is believed to have originated from a seafood and live animal market in the city of Wuhan, capital of the Chinese province of Hubei.

Symptoms of COVID-19

Typical symptoms of COVID-19 include respiratory symptoms, fever and a cough that may progress to a severe pneumonia causing shortness of breath, breathing difficulties, severe acute respiratory syndrome and even death.

The current evidence is that most cases appear to be mild. Those who have died appear to have had pre-existing health conditions.

Transmission and Risks of COVID-19

How is COVID-19 spread?

Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people. During previous outbreaks of other coronavirus (MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV), human-to-human transmission occurred through droplets, contact and fomites (materials likely to carry infection). This suggests that the transmission mode of COVID-19 can be similar.

Who's at risk from COVID-19?

People of all ages can be infected by COVID-19. The WHO advises people of all ages to take steps to protect themselves from the virus, for example by following good hand hygiene and good respiratory hygiene. Generally, COVID-19 can cause more severe symptoms in older people, those with weakened immune systems and people with pre-existing or long-term medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease, cancer and chronic lung disease).

What are the treatments for COVID-19?

There's currently no specific medicine recommended to prevent or treat COVID-19, although some specific treatments are being investigated and will be tested through clinical trials. Those infected with the virus should receive appropriate care to relieve and treat symptoms, and those with severe illness should receive optimised supportive care. Further advice should be sought from healthcare professionals.

How to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading

The standard recommendations and basic principles to reduce the general risk of transmission and prevent infection of acute respiratory infections include the following:

  • Avoid close contact with anyone who has fever and cough.
  • Frequent hand-washing using an alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water, especially after direct contact with ill people or their environment.
  • People with symptoms of acute respiratory infection should seek medical care early and practise cough etiquette (maintain distance, cover coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or clothing, throw tissue away immediately and wash hands).
  • Within healthcare facilities, enhance standard infection prevention and control practices in hospitals, especially in emergency departments.

Arco Response Team

A situation, such as COVID-19, requires a high level of expertise to ensure that all appropriate solutions are correctly specified. To make an enquiry, contact the Arco coronavirus response team on

Sources & Useful References


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