COVID19 Pandemic

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is defined as illness caused by a novel coronavirus now called severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which was first identified amid an outbreak of respiratory illness cases in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China.  It was initially reported to the WHO on December 31, 2019. On January 30, 2020, the WHO declared the COVID-19 outbreak a global health emergency.  On March 11, 2020, the WHO declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, its first such designation since declaring H1N1 influenza a pandemic in 2009.

Illness caused by SARS-CoV-2 was recently termed COVID-19 by the WHO, the new acronym derived from "coronavirus disease 2019. " The name was chosen to avoid stigmatizing the virus's origins in terms of populations, geography, or animal associations.

Advice for the General Public

How do I protect myself?

To protect yourself and others from infection practice good hand and respiratory hygiene:
  1. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and if not available, use alcohol-based hand disinfectant.
  2. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or inner side of flexed elbow when coughing or sneezing.
  3. DO NOT sneeze or cough into your hands as you may contaminate objects or people that you touch.
  4. Dispose of used tissues immediately in bins; DO NOT leave tissues running around.
  5. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth before washing your hands.
  6. Keep a one metre distance when talking to someone who is sick.
Should I wear face-masks?
In Malta, there is no need to wear face-masks. Wearing a mask in a preventive manner is not recommended by the World Health Organisation as a means to avoid contamination with the COVID-19 virus. Face-masks help people, who are already infected with the virus, from spreading it others.

Can I be contaminated by receiving a package from an affected area?
People receiving packages from affected areas are not at risk of contracting the novel coronavirus. From previous analysis, we know coronaviruses do not survive long on objects such as letters or packages.