Please refer to the below frequently asked questions around coronavirus and COVID-19 infection.

Can I have contracted the virus but have no symptoms?

As noted by the CDC, the coronavirus has a window period, which means that after catching the virus there will be a short period where you can still be infected but not show any symptoms.

Do I routinely need a face mask?

Yes, you do need to wear a cloth mask when in public and also when you visit a healthcare facility.

What precautionary measures can I follow to limit my risk of contracting a COVID-19 infection?

There is currently no vaccine available to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Risk of infection and transmission can be reduced by:

·       Reducing personal contact (e.g. by no longer shaking hands).

·       Cleaning your hands before touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

·       Properly cleaning your hands after coughing or sneezing.

·       Avoid using handkerchiefs and rather use a tissue and discard it.

How does COVID-19 spread from person-to-person?

Person to person contact is the main way the virus spreads. This is either through close contact or by the spread of droplets when someone who has the virus coughs or sneezes on you. Generally if you are more than 2 meters away, the droplets won’t reach you, and should not be able to infect you.

However, those droplets can land on surfaces, such as tables, door handles, or any other surface. The virus can survive on the surface for a long time (currently estimated to be between 7-9 days if not cleaned adequately and depending on the type of surface).

If you touch that contaminated surface with the virus and then touch your face, especially your eyes, mouth or nose, you could become infected.

How is COVID-19 treated?

There is no specific antiviral treatment for COVID-19. Symptomatic treatment may be given, for example to reduce fever, muscle aches and sore throats.

If symptoms are severe (e.g. if an individual requires oxygen due to difficulties breathing) treatment should not be managed at home and will need to take place in hospital.

Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections and should not be used to treat a viral illness like COVID-19. Antibiotics would only be necessary if there were a secondary bacterial infection present.

What do I do if I have been in contract with someone with a COVID-19 infection?

If you have been in contact with somebody with COVID-19:

·       Stay at home and monitor yourself for onset of symptoms – do not go into public.

·       Practise good cough etiquette when coughing or sneezing.

·       Clean your hands after coughing or sneezing.

·       If you develop symptoms, you should be tested if possible.

·       If you do develop symptoms, you must self-isolate for an additional 14 days after the onset of symptoms.

If you feel short of breath, or have difficulty breathing, go to the nearest hospital.

Should I get tested for the virus?

If you have symptoms of Covid, you should be tested if possible.

Complete the Mediclinic screening assessment above to review if you are a candidate.

This screening is in keeping with national guidelines for testing.

What is Coronavirus and how does it relate to COVID-19?

COVID-19 is the abbreviation for Coronavirus disease and is a disease or illness caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2, one of many in the family of coronaviruses.


Other viruses in the family of Coronaviruses are responsible for causing the common cold or other respiratory infections. It is important to note that the Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 is a new or novel strain of the virus and as such the effects of the infection on the population have been more widespread.

What symptoms does coronavirus cause?

Most people who get this disease will have very mild symptoms, like having a cold.

People who develop COVID-19 generally have the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Muscle aches

In the minority of cases an individual may develop severe symptoms such as difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, difficulty rousing amongst others. If this happens, it is imperative that medical attention is sought and that you go to the hospital.

What tests are done to diagnose COVID-19?

Diagnosis is made by analysing a respiratory sample that is collected by testing a swab that is inserted into the nose and throat. The South African NICD and private laboratories have the capability to perform this test.

There are certain indications for testing which relate to the clinical symptoms that have developed and certain circumstantial risks. If you are concerned, do the Mediclinic screening assessment.

Additional blood specimens might also be tested, as well as sputum.

The test takes about 24 – 48 hours to process. Your treating doctor will inform you about the results.

Who is at risk of getting COVID-19?

Currently people who have travelled to high risk countries, or have been in contact with somebody with COVID-19 are at higher risk of contracting the virus.

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) has noted that those at higher risk of severe illness are older adults and those with existing medical conditions such as chronic heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, cancers, immune suppression or lung disease.

What do I do if I'm worried I might have COVID-19?

If your symptoms are mild, you can stay at home and manage your symptoms – focusing specifically on getting plenty of rest, and staying hydrated.

Currently the recommended period of time to stay at home is 14 days after onset of your symptoms, as you would be infectious for this amount of time.

Ensure you practise good hand hygiene at home, as well as cleaning any touched surfaces frequently as the virus could survive on them for a number of days.

Will I be treated if I come to a Mediclinic hospital?


Mediclinic has standardised processes in place, which have been enhanced in the pandemic, to deal with the developing local and international COVID-19 circumstance.