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.
- 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.
- What is the risk of developing severe illness?
Data from the World Health Organization (WHO) indicate that 80% of cases are mild and have
symptoms like the common flu. The risk of having the severe form of the disease increases
with age and when there are other pre-existing diseases.
- Are pregnant women more susceptible to COVID-19?
Pregnant women and infants are outside the COVID-19 risk group.
- Are children at greater risk?
To date, there is no evidence to suggest children are at greater risk of developing the
serious form of the disease. The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends
that children follow the same precautions as adults.
- What types of test are available on the market?
There are tests specific for COVID-19 diagnosis in the world; the RT-PCR is the antigen test
(for active disease). For screening, the serological tests (asymptomatic) show who has had
contact with the virus, but who may not be sick.
The diagnosis of Covid-19 is being made by a collection of respiratory materials (through
airway passages or through clearing of phlegm. It is necessary to collect two samples if
there is suspicion of the coronavirus. To confirm the disease, it is necessary to perform
molecular biology tests that detect the viral RNA.
- 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.
- Should you 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.
- 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.
- 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
72 hours after the last symptom has ceased.
- What is quarantine?
The period in which a person or group reasonably believe to have been exposed to a
communicable disease but not yet symptomatic must self-isolate at home to prevent the
possible spread of the communicable disease. If a fever or any symptom of respiratory
disease appears, the person should seek medical assistance.
When in home quarantine, take the following precautions:
Hand hygiene: wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. You can
use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if there is no soap and water and your hands are not
visibly dirty. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with your unwashed hands.
Respiratory etiquette: cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, or
you may cough or sneeze up your sleeve.
Do not share personal items, such as towels, drinking cups, dishes, cutlery, towels, or
bedding with others in your home. After using these items, you should wash them thoroughly
with soap and water.
- 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.
- What is pandemic?
On March 11, World Health Organization declared the Covid-19 a pandemic. Pandemic has nothing
to do with changes to the characteristics of a disease, but is instead associated with
concerns over its geographic spread. It is a new epidemic spanning two or more countries
and/or several continents with sustained human-to-human transmission.
Contamination and prevention
- How does COVID-19 spread?
The disease is transmitted through respiratory droplets. It can spread 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.
- Can the disease be transmitted by asymptomatic patients?
Researchers have already found evidence that people with the new coronavirus can transmit the
disease without presenting symptoms. This is called an asymptomatic case. However, the viral
load is lower and so is the potential for contagion. According to the World Health
Organization (WHO), the most common mode of transmission is through patients who exhibit the
symptoms of Covid-19.
- Should we avoid going to parks, beaches and public areas?
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is recommended to put
distance between yourself and other people and avoid crowds, specially in areas where there
is local transmission of the virus.
- What precautions should I take after using public transport?
Try sitting in an empty seat with no passengers near you. During the journey, avoid touching
your face. Hands may carry contaminated droplets from a cough or sneeze. When hands have
contact with a body part, it may leave contaminates. So use alcohol gel to sanitize your
hands if there is no access to soap and water.
After leaning on bars and objects that come into contact with many people, sanitize your
hands properly. Click here and see a video about how to wash hands.
- 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. Click here to learn about three Alternatives to Alcohol-Based Hand
- Is it possible to get infected by shaking hands or through hugs? Why handwashing can prevent
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.
Click here and see a video about how to wash 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. Click here to learn about three Alternatives to Alcohol-Based Hand
- Where should hand sanitizers be made available?
The use of hand sanitizers has proved to be an important asset in our response to this
pandemic. However, we need to be strategic in its use and availability. Give preference to
places close to high-touch surfaces (such as elevator buttons and stair railings) and areas
with high traffic of people such as cafeterias, entrances and exits. Avoid making it
available in areas close to toilettes, in this case, include warnings for washing hands with
soap and water.
- Does the flu 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.
- 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.
Actions and guidance at Vale
Back to Coronavirus
- 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
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
- 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.