FAQ about the Coronavirus Disease

Safety and Prevention


FAQ about the Coronavirus Disease

Safety and Prevention

The rapid spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 has sparked many questions worldwide. As we watch the novel coronavirus proliferate on a global scale, it is important to remain calm and get news only from official sources of information. Check out the FAQ below to clarify any questions about Covid-19.

About the disease

What is coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that may cause respiratory infections and has caused more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The most recently discovered coronavirus causes coronavirus disease COVID-19, and was first identified in China, in December 2019.

How does COVID-19 spread?

Through respiratory droplets, from person-to-person contact (within 6 feet) or through direct, unprotected contact with bodily fluids, sneezing or coughing. Other people can catch COVID-19 by sharing personal objects such as cups and cutlery or touching objects or surfaces contaminated with droplets, such as public transport safety bars and door handles.

What are the symptoms?

The most common symptoms are cough, fever, shortness of breath, and muscle aches. Some patients may have nasal congestion, sore throat or diarrhea. In more severe cases, infection can cause severe acute respiratory syndrome and kidney failure.

Will everyone have the same problems?

No. 80% of the people infected with coronavirus experience mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. Only the most severe cases are treated in a hospital or ICU.

Should I go straight to hospital if symptoms appear?

Coronavirus symptoms are mild, flu-like in 80% of the cases. In these cases, the World Health Organization recommends staying at home and monitoring symptoms. If you have a high fever and your respiratory symptoms worsen, seek medical care right away or call Dr. PASA's helpline (08000 260-911).

What is the treatment for coronavirus?

To date, there is no specific medicine recommended to treat the new coronavirus; however, some treatments can relieve and treat symptoms and prevent aggravation.

How long should the person be quarantined after testing positive for the infection?

The word quarantine refers to the 14 days established by WHO (World Health Organization), in which the asymptomatic patient will be monitored and observed for a period in self-isolation at home or some other place. If the patient develops symptoms during those 14 days, they will spend time in isolation. When the person has symptoms, self-isolation should last up to 24 hours after the last symptom has ceased.

Can we be infected with the virus more than once?

Since coronavirus is a novel virus, the answer to that question will come in a few months or even years. We don’t have a complete answer to that yet.

On March 11, Who declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. What does that mean?

It's important to know that calling a disease outbreak a pandemic doesn't connote severity; it relates solely to worldwide spread. The declaration is a measure reserved for events that require global actions to contain a disease.

Is it possible to get infected by shaking hands or through hugs? Why handwashing can prevent coronavirus?

Yes. The infection can be transmitted when a person touches a body part or a surface with infected droplets. By washing your hands thoroughly you eliminate viruses that may be on your hands and avoid infection that could occur by then touching your eyes, mouth, and nose.

How to wash your hands properly?

Remove rings and watches to ensure all parts of the skin will be cleaned. Wash your hands and apply soap, rubbing your palms together. Interlace your fingers and rub the soap between fingers. Rub each palm over the back of the other hand. Clean your thumbs, twisting the backs of fingers against palms. Wash your wrists. Bend and press your right fingers together, in a circular motion, then clean your nails. Use your arm or elbow to turn off the faucet. Use disposable paper towels to dry your hands.

Using alcohol gel also helps prevent the spread of coronavirus; however, the product is sold out in some locations. Is there any action against that?

Soap and water. It is the best prevention. Only use alcohol gel sanitizer when soap and water is not an option.

Should I wear a mask to protect myself?

No. WHO recommends that only people with symptoms related to Covid-19 wear the surgical mask. The disposable mask should only be used once and disposed of immediately, to avoid contamination from other people.

Are there ways to kill the virus?

The virus can be eliminated before it infects the body. The best way to avoid transmission is to wash your hands regularly and thoroughly with soap and water or clean them with an alcohol-based sanitizer. Surfaces used by many people (such as door handles, safety bars, handrails, etc.) should be cleaned with disinfectants, such as 70% alcohol solution, bleach, or soap and water.

Which groups are at higher risk?

The risk groups already identified by the global health agencies are people over 60 and persons with pre-existing medical conditions (such as high blood pressure, heart disease, chronic respiratory diseases, lung disease, immunodeficiency, cancer, chronic kidney disease, diabetes).

About children

Based on available evidence, children do not appear to be at higher risk for COVID-19 than adults. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends children to do the same things as adults to avoid infection.

About pregnant and breastfeeding women

There is no evidence that pregnant and breastfeeding women are at higher risk of severe illness; however, they should be included in this group as a precaution.

How does the novel coronavirus test work?

The diagnosis is made with the collection of respiratory materials (swabbing the inside of a patient’s nose or sputum induction). Suspected cases require collection of two samples. According to the Ministry of Health, it is necessary to look for the virus’s genetic material (RNA) in a patient’s cells to confirm the infection. If you have any flu symptoms, stay at home and seek medical advice by phone – Dr. PASA (08000 260 911) or contact the local health areas.

What is pandemic?

On March 11/3, WHO declared the Covid-19 a pandemic. Pandemic is a new epidemic spanning two or more countries and/or several continents with sustained human-to-human transmission.

What is the incubation time for the novel coronavirus?

It is the time from a person's exposure to the virus to the time symptoms are developed. According to WHO, the incubation time for the COVID-19 virus is 1 to 14 days, with symptoms usually appearing five days after exposure. 

What precautions should I take after using public transport?

Clean your hands properly after leaning on support bars and objects that are touched by many people. If you do not have access to soap and water, use alcohol gel and avoid touching your face, eyes, nose and mouth. People can catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces infected with droplets from cough or sneeze, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth.

Should I stop greeting people?

Avoid physical contact such as handshakes, kisses and hugs, giving preference to greetings from a distance.

Can the disease be transmitted by asymptomatic patients?

The World Health Organization (WHO) suggests that asymptomatic cases are rare. The viral load of those who do not develop symptoms is lower, so is the potential for transmission. The most common means of transmission are patients who have Covid-19 symptoms.

What is quarantine?

The period in which a traveler must self-isolate at home. If a fever or any symptom of respiratory disease appears, the person should seek medical assistance. This period should cover the entire incubation period of the virus.

Does the flue vaccine provide any protection against the novel coronavirus?

A flu shot won't prevent coronavirus, but it can help reduce the spread of the most common respiratory diseases. It is a way to help healthcare professionals rule out other types of influenza during the screening process and expedite the Covid-19 diagnosis. It is important that all employees keep their vaccination card up to date.

Actions and guidance at Vale

What is Vale doing to prevent the spread of the coronavirus?

We are taking all precautionary measures, putting people's safety first. We have set up a technical committee to monitor the evolution of the coronavirus and proactively discuss actions and provide guidelines to all employees in all locations where Vale operates. As we watch the novel coronavirus proliferate on a global scale, it is important to remain calm and get news only from official sources of information.

What has Vale done so far?

From the get go, Vale set up a crisis committee to monitor and proactively guide employees and discuss actions. To learn more about Vale´s initiatives, click here

Shall professionals who work in ports and/or have contact with people from affected areas take special care? For vessels arriving or leaving China, are there any specific rules to comply with?

Vale is working with all health authorities and following specific recommendations issued by them. The Vale teams that work in ports – are being guided by the local Health teams and adequate public authorities – must strictly follow the recommended procedures.

Remember that trips to China are long and exceed the virus's incubation period. Ports located closer to China have specific containment guidelines, all carefully monitored by the Vale's teams.

Can the coronavirus be in a ship or cargo of a Vale train?

What is known so far is that the virus does not survive on surfaces for long periods. In most cases, the virus is transmitted through respiratory droplets.

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FAQ about the Coronavirus Disease