COVID-19 Is Here: What Now?


As the number of cases in South Africa rise, the more anxious we become about contracting COVID-19. And the question that’s on our lips right now is: what do we do? Here’s what you need to know about prevention, what to do if you think you have contracted the virus, and where to get more information. Be safe out there, Joburg. 

covid16 under microscope

Know The Symptoms

The first thing you need to know are the symptoms of the COVID-19 virus and how it spreads. Awareness of the virus is the first step in prevention. The virus may take between one to 14 days to develop symptoms.

COVID-19 is spread by:

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Touching unsanitised public surfaces (counters, doors, elevator buttons, handles, communal pens, public transport, etc.)
  • Person-to-person contact (shaking hands, close contact, talking, etc.)

Symptoms include: 

  • Initially, a sore throat that lasts three to four days
  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Runny nose
  • Difficulty breathing (in severe cases)

If you present these symptoms, contact your healthcare provider, telephonically, to discuss your symptoms and avoid the spread of COVID-19. If your symptoms progress, seek medical attention immediately.

Mild symptoms can be treated at home under self isolation, however, more serious symptoms will need to be monitored by a healthcare establishment.

flu and cold medication water bottle, nasal spray, tissues, tablets

Who’s At Risk? 

When it comes to COVID-19, everyone is at risk. However, older adults and individuals with chronic health issues need to be extra careful during the outbreak. This includes individuals who have the following:

  • Heart disease
  • Lung disease
  • Diabetes
  • Tuberculosis
  • HIV/Aids

Symptoms that are more severe may lead to pneumonia, so ensure that you keep a close eye on how your illness progresses.

Click here for the latest updates on COVID-19 in Johannesburg. 

shaking hands at a meeting

Discovery Health Medical Scheme COVID-19 Benefit

If you’re part of the Discovery Health Medical Scheme, you have access to a new benefit called the WHO Global Outbreak Benefit that covers you in cases of COVID-19. The WHO Global Outbreak Benefit provides full funding for tests and treatment in confirmed cases of COVID-19. Find out more about this benefit here.

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 are covered for:

  • Diagnostic testing
  • Diagnostic testing for influenza
  • Consultations with healthcare professionals
  • Defined supportive treatment and medicines
  • Discovery Health Medical Scheme will pay for treatment in-hospital according to the benefits available on your chosen health plan and scheme rules.

People who contract COVID-19 may take up to 14 days to develop symptoms. You should only be tested for particular reasons, and there is a specific process to follow to test for COVID-19.

Please note: 

  • If you have COVID-19, this benefit pays for the test that confirms it as well as for an influenza test.
  • If you do not have COVID-19, the benefit does not pay for an influenza test and your health plan benefits apply.

doctor in white coat with stethascope

Dedicated COVID-19 Info Hubs Are Available

If you need any information about COVID-19, call the NICD hotline number: 080 002 9999. Here, you’ll get more information about the virus.

Also, visit the Discovery COVID-19 Information Hub, which provides the latest updates and guidance to encourage South Africans to understand and educate themselves on the facts about COVID-19.

The government has also implemented an official South African Government COVID-19 WhatsApp service. Send the word “HI” to 0600 123 456 on WhatsApp.

A Few Preventative Tips

  1. Wash your hands often. After you’ve been out shopping for supplies, coughed or sneezed, make sure you wash your hands!
  2. If you don’t have access to water or soap to wash your hands, use hand sanitisers that have at least 60% alcohol content.
  3. Try not to touch your face – eyes, nose and mouth – keep your hands away from your face, especially if you haven’t washed or sanitised them.
  4. Cover your nose and mouth with either a flexed elbow or a tissue when you sneeze or cough.
  5. Wear a mask when out in public.
  6. Take supplements such as vitamin C to keep the immune system in check (please note: this is not a cure, this is just a precaution).
  7. Avoid close contact with someone who has flu-like symptoms.
  8. If you feel you have the symptoms, rather self isolate and call your doctor to discuss your symptoms than book an appointment. This will help prevent the spread of illness.
  9. If your symptoms are mild, you can self treat it at home under self isolation. If your symptoms get worse daily, consider seeking medical attention immediately.
  10. Avoid travelling.

woman washing her hands at sink with soap

Disclaimer: We are not medical professionals, consult a doctor immediately if you suspect you may have contracted COVID-19. This article was written solely for awareness purposes. 

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