What is Covid-19?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that may cause illness in animals or humans. Covid-19 is the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. This new virus and disease was unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.
It is likely that it came from an animal. A live animal market called the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan City has been associated with this outbreak.
How does Covid-19 spread?
Like the flu, Covid-19 can be transmitted from person to person.
The scientific evidence confirms that Covid-19 is spread by respiratory droplets. This means that when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks, they may generate respiratory droplets containing the virus. These droplets are too large to stay in the air for long, so they quickly settle on surrounding surfaces.
Droplet-spread diseases can be spread by coughing and sneezing, close personal contact, contact with an object or surface with viral particles on it and then touching your mouth, nose or eyes
That's why it's really important to practise good hygiene, regularly wash and thoroughly dry your hands and practise good cough etiquette.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough and difficulty breathing.
In addition, some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhoea.
These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and never become unwell.
What should I do if I have any of these symptoms?
If you have a cough, fever, sore throat, runny nose, or flu-like illness you can visit the “coughs and colds” flu clinic at Blackrock in Rarotonga, or the assigned clinic on your outer island. Call 29667 prior to organise your appointment. Consultation is free.
The clinic’s opening hours are 8am to 2pm, Monday to Friday. Do not go to the hospital or a health centre without calling ahead to make an appointment.
How do I protect myself and others from Covid-19?
* wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use alcohol-based hand sanitiser;
* avoid touching your face;
* cover your coughs and sneezes, if using tissue, discard immediately in a closed bin;
* don’t share drinks and food;
* when greeting people, try a smile, wave, or nod, instead of a kiss, hug, fist bump, high five, or shaking hands;
* avoid close contact with people who are sick;
* clean surfaces and work tops at home, school, and work daily with soap and water.
Can we stop the virus from coming into the Cook Islands?
To date, Cooks Islands has no cases of Covid-19. But the World Health Organization has assessed the risk of global spread of Covid-19 as very high. Therefore, the likelihood of an imported case in the Cook Islands is high.
Border control checks do not guarantee an absolute protection to the Cook Islands, because the incubation period is up to 14 days. This means people may not show any symptoms when they arrive in country.
Should I still greet people with a kiss?
No. When greeting people, try a smile, wave, or nod, instead of a kiss, hug, fist bump, high five, or shaking hands.