Skip to main content

What is coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause respiratory infections

What is coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause respiratory infections. These can range from the common cold to more serious diseases.

COVID-19 is the disease caused by a new coronavirus. It was first reported in December 2019 in Wuhan City in China.

Other coronaviruses include Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS)  and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) 

How does coronavirus (COVID-19) spread?

Because it's a new illness, we do not know exactly how coronavirus spreads from person to person.

Similar viruses are spread in cough droplets.

It's very unlikely it can be spread through things like packages or food.


      wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds

      always wash your hands when you get home or into work

      use alcohol based hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available

      cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze

      put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards

      try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell

      be prepared to self isolate

      plan ahead

      use health services wisely

      stay up-to-date using information from IOM Government



      touch your eyes, nose or mouth

Is there any treatment

  • There is currently no specific treatment for coronavirus
  • Antibiotics do not help, as they do not work against viruses
  • Treatment aims to relieve the symptoms while your body fights the illness
  • You'll need to stay in isolation, away from other people, until you have recovered