Before learning how to protect myself it is important to understand what are coronaviruses and Covid-19 in particular; what are the symptoms, how does it spread and how long is the incubation period. Knowing this basic information provides the reasons why the need for self protection measures are important.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans. In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The most recently discovered coronavirus causes coronavirus disease COVID-19.
COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. This new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don’t feel unwell.
Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment. Around 1 out of every 6 people who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness. People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention.
People can catch COVID-19 from others who have the virus. The disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales. These droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person. Other people then catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth.
People can also catch COVID-19 if they breathe in droplets from a person with COVID-19 who coughs out or exhales droplets. This is why it is important to stay more than 2 metres away from a person who is sick.
WHO is assessing ongoing research on the ways COVID-19 is spread and will continue to share updated findings.
The “incubation period” means the time between catching the virus and beginning to have symptoms of the disease. Most estimates of the incubation period for COVID-19 range from 2-14 days, most commonly around five days. These estimates will be updated as more data become available.
Above information provided by WHO
The following information has been published officially by the DGS and through Decree laws – please see the DGS FB pages for more details.
This advice covers two situations, when an individual leaves the house, and again when they return home.
Wearing of masks and visors – Decree 10-A/2020 Article 13B Updated 21st June 2020 – Extract:
1 – The use of masks or visors is mandatory for access or permanence in the following places:
a) In commercial and service spaces and establishments;
b) In public buildings or buildings for public use where services are provided or acts involving the public take place;
c) In educational establishments and crèches by teaching and non-teaching staff and by students;
d) Inside theatres, cinematographic films or similar.
2-the obligation referred to in the preceding paragraph is waived when, depending on the nature of the activities, its use is impracticable.
3 – It is mandatory to wear masks or visors when using public transport for passengers.
4-for the purposes of the preceding paragraph, the use of collective passenger transport begins under the terms of paragraph 2 of article 2 of Law no. 28/2006, of 4 July, in its current wording .
5 – The obligation to use a mask or a visor under the terms of this article is only applicable to persons aged over 10 years.
6 – The obligation referred to in paragraphs 1 and 3 is waived upon presentation of:
a) Medical Certificate of Multipurpose Disability or medical declaration, in the case of people with cognitive, developmental and mental disorders;
b) Medical statement attesting that the person’s clinical condition is not consistent with the use of masks or visors.
7 – It is up to people or entities, public or private, who are responsible for the respective spaces or establishments, services and public buildings or means of transport, to promote compliance with the provisions of this article
Wearing of mask outdoors
Decree 13-A/2021 Article 3 – Extending Decree 62-A/2020 from 1st April 2021 for a period of 70 days
1 – The use of a mask by people aged 10 and over is mandatory for access, circulation or permanence in public spaces and streets whenever the physical distance recommended by the health authorities proves impractical.
2 – The requirement referred to in the previous number is waived:
a) Upon presentation:
i) A medical certificate of multipurpose incapacity or medical declaration, in the case of people with cognitive, developmental and mental disorders;
ii) A medical statement attesting that the person’s clinical condition is not consistent with the use of masks;
b) When the use of a mask is incompatible with the nature of the activities that people are carrying out;
c) In relation to people who are part of the same household, when they are not in the vicinity of third parties.
Recommended Actions when out of the home:
– Wear long sleeved clothing to avoid unnecessary exposure.
– Wear a mask before leaving the house.
– Throw paper tissues in the bin immediately after use.
– Wash hands or use alcohol gel after touching any surfaces.
– Use paper towels to touch surfaces
– Cover nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing.
– Maintain a distance of 2 metres from other people.
Actions Best Avoided:
– Avoid using public transport, but when doing so ensure wearing of facemask and follow DGS guide.
– Avoid paying with cash, use other methods, but if used wash hands afterwards.
– Do not touch your face unless you have clean hands.
– Avoid unnecessary contact with other people, animals or objects.
Recommended Action on your return:
– The objective is to minimise the risk but it is recognised it is not possible to disinfect everything…
– Try not to touch anything before washing hands.
– Clean your mobile phone with the recommended wipes.
– Using gloves clean all areas which may be contaminated.
– Wash dog paws with suitable product for their skin.
– Wash outdoor clothes at 60 degrees
The PDF leaflet for the following and more information can be downloaded at the foot of this page.
If you have any of these symptoms:
• Recurrent and persistent cough;
• Fever (37.5 degrees Celsius or higher)
You should preventively stay at home for 14 days, and call to SNS24 (808 24 24 24), which in
case of need will direct you for the most adequate healthcare institution.
Advice on staying at home:
• Don’t go to work, to school, to the pharmacy, or any healthcare unit or hospital
• Don’t share house divisions or clean it after every utilization;
• Avoid close contact with other people;
• Do not receive guests;
• Wash your hands before interacting with pets
When should I contact the National Health Service (SNS24)?
• When you feel your symptoms will not improve at home;
• When your condition detreorates;
• Your symptoms do not improve after 14 days;
How do I contact with the National Health Service?
The General Directorate of Health (DGS) supplies three ways to obtain access
firstname.lastname@example.org – to make questions about COVID-19 disease
Phone number SNS 808 24 24 24 – if you suspect you have COVID-19
Phone number 300 502 502 – to make questions about the period of quarantine, medical absence leaves to provide assistance to relatives.
What can I do to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus?
Director General of Health Portugal in line with the WHO recommends recommends hygiene measures, respiratory etiquette and food safety practices to reduce exposure and transmission of the disease:
Wash your hands frequently
Wash your hands frequently with an alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
Why? Washing your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water kills the virus if it is on your hands.
Practice respiratory hygiene
When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue – discard tissue immediately into a closed bin and clean your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water. In general, use a face mask as soon as you have other people around you.
Why? Covering your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing prevent the spread of germs and viruses. If you sneeze or cough into your hands, you may contaminate objects or people that you touch.
Maintain social distancing
Maintain at least 2 metres distance between yourself and other people.
Why? When someone who is infected with a respiratory disease, like 2019-nCoV, coughs or sneezes they project small droplets containing the virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the virus.
Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
Why? Hands touch many surfaces which can be contaminated with the virus. If you touch your eyes, nose or mouth with your contaminated hands, you can transfer the virus from the surface to yourself.
For more information, search in the microsite of the General Directorate of Health (Direção Geral da Saúde -DGS) https://www.dgs.pt/corona-virus