Coronavirus

A comprehensive guide on how to navigate the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak.

Last updated:

Coronavirus washing hands

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has officially declared COVID-19 a pandemic of global concern. It’s the first pandemic sparked by a coronavirus, which means we are currently in uncharted territory. This article, and the linked guides, are intended to help consumers and small businesses understand the implications and make informed choices.

If we all work together by observing good hygiene, following advice from health officials and self-isolating as directed, we should get through this with minimal impact on the vulnerable. The most important thing is to remain calm and educated. And that is the chief purpose of this guide.

A full list of our coronavirus guides

Dealing with financial hardship

Dealing with financial hardship

If you've lost your job, are having to deal with unexpected bills or expenses, are dealing with the death of a loved one or paying medical bills, you might find yourself in financial hardship. This guide will take you through everything you need to know. Read more…

warningAlways seek professional or medical advice before making any important decisions.

Below you will find information COVID-19 coronavirus, including how it spreads, how to avoid infection, the symptoms to watch out for and how to protect the vulnerable. You will also find expert advice on travel, insurance, health, shopping and employment.

We’ll continue to publish content to help you navigate the outbreak, so be sure to bookmark this page to stay informed.

If you’re concerned that you may be infected, please seek medical advice from a health professional immediately.

COVID-19: confirmed cases and deaths

This data was last updated on 2020-04-01 at 08:00 CEST and was sourced from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control

853,200

Current confirmed cases

(+75,403 in last 24 hours)

41,887

Total deaths

(+4,616 in last 24 hours)

Key coronavirus resources and official guides

There is a lot of misinformation floating around about coronavirus and its impact on the world. The following links will keep you up to date using sources you can trust:

What is COVID-19 coronavirus?

COVID-19 coronavirus is the name given to the current outbreak of coronavirus first reported in Wuhan, China on 31 December 2019. A “coronavirus” is a type of virus that causes diseases in mammals and birds.

COVID-19 is genetically similar to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which had an outbreak in 2002-2003 that led to 774 deaths in 17 countries. While less deadly than SARS, the WHO has warned that COVID-19 is more infectious.

The disease is believed to have originated in bats, before contaminating food sold in live-animal street markets in China. In response to the virus, China has placed a permanent ban on the trade and consumption of live wild animals for food.

How dangerous is coronavirus (COVID-19)?

According to the WHO, most people infected with COVID-19 will only experience mild, flu-like symptoms. Some people may display no symptoms at all.

The global case fatality rate currently stands at 3.4% (which does not take into account unreported cases). Statistically, this means that you have a better than 96% chance of survival after contracting coronavirus. As the WHO noted last month, COVID-19 is a new and concerning disease, but outbreaks can be managed with the right response and most infected people will recover.

With that said, the virus is highly transmissible, and there are certain groups of people who are significantly more vulnerable than others (see below) – which is why it’s so important to minimise the spread of the virus.

How many people have died or been infected?

You can keep tabs on the number of infections and fatalities globally via the below Finder graph, which we are updating regularly.

Number of confirmed cases per day worldwide

Number of deaths per day worldwide

This chart data was last updated on 2020-04-01 at 08:00 CEST and was sourced from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control

Who is most at risk?

Older people and anyone with pre-existing medical conditions are at higher risk of developing serious illness after contracting COVID-19. The latter includes people with high blood pressure, heart disease, lung disease, cancer and diabetes.

If you fall into one of the above categories, you will need to be extra vigilant in the weeks to come. Head to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for additional information.

At what age do I become more vulnerable?

The elderly are more vulnerable to COVID-19 than the general population. The WHO has warned that people who are over the age of 60 are at greater risk of developing severe or critical illness if infected with the virus.

How is COVID-19 spread?

Coronavirus is chiefly spread by person-to-person contact. This can occur when an infected person coughs or exhales, or via direct contact such as shaking hands. The virus is transferred in small droplets from the nose or mouth.

The WHO warns that high-touch objects and surfaces can also be infectious. These include tables, doorknobs, light switches, remotes, handles, desks, toilets and sinks. In these instances, transmission occurs when a person touches the infected object, then touches their eyes, nose or mouth. Worryingly, preliminary studies suggest that COVID-19 may persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days.

In some good news, the latest data suggests COVID-19 is unlikely to be transmitted through the air over long distances. (Airborne respiratory droplets typically land on objects and surfaces around the person, rather than remaining in the air.)

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

As mentioned above, symptoms of COVID-19 are non-specific. They can range from no symptoms, to severe pneumonia and death. A WHO-China Joint Mission study released on 20 February 2020 found the following:

Based on 55,924 laboratory confirmed cases, typical signs and symptoms include: fever (87.9%), dry cough (67.7%), fatigue (38.1%), sputum production (33.4%), shortness of breath (18.6%), sore throat (13.9%), headache (13.6%), myalgia or arthralgia (14.8%), chills (11.4%), nausea or vomiting (5.0%), nasal congestion (4.8%), diarrhea (3.7%), hemoptysis (0.9%) and conjunctival congestion (0.8%).

Based on the above statistics, the main symptoms you should be watching out for are fever, dry cough, fatigue, sputum production (thick mucus) and shortness of breath. If you exhibit these symptoms, check into a clinic to get yourself tested.

You can find out more about the WHO-China Joint Mission study into coronavirus symptoms here.

How long does infection last?

The incubation period for COVID-19 is 1-14 days. This means that it can take up to two weeks for an infected person to exhibit symptoms after catching the virus. It then takes an additional two or three weeks for the infected person to recover.

What can I do to stay protected?

Good hygiene is the most important preventative measure against COVID-19. This means frequently washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, covering your mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing and avoiding unnecessary touching of your face.

According to the WHO, you should also maintain at least a one-metre distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing. This is next to impossible on crowded trains and buses, which is why it’s important that everyone follows the aforementioned coughing rule.

Naturally, you should also stay home if you feel unwell and get yourself tested for the virus.

If you are fit and healthy, try to remember that this isn’t just about avoiding a mild illness – avoiding infection could help save lives in high-risk populations such as the elderly. Below is the World Health Organisation’s guide on effective hand washing to protect against infection.

Hand washing steps (World Health Organisation)

Go to site