COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and the Flu


  • Both can cause fever, cough, body aches, fatigue; sometimes vomiting and diarrhoea.
  • Can be mild or severe, even fatal in rare cases.
  • Can result in pneumonia 


  • Both can be spread from person to person through droplets in the air from an infected person coughing, sneezing or talking.
  • A possible difference: COVID-19 could cause disease in others even after the ill person is no longer near.
  • The COVID-19 virus is spread in large droplets by coughing and sneezing. This means that the air will not infect you! BUT all the surfaces where these droplets land are infectious for about a week on average. HAND HYGIENE is the best form of prevention of spread
  • Flu can be spread by an infected person for several days before their symptoms appear, and COVID-19 is believed to be spread in the same manner, but we don’t yet know for sure. Incubation period has been shown to be up to 2 weeks.


  • Neither virus is treatable with antibiotics, which only work on bacterial infections.
  • Both may be treated by addressing symptoms, such as reducing fever. Severe cases may require hospitalization and support such as mechanical ventilation.


Both may be prevented by:

  • Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; hand sanitizer with at least 70% alcohol base
  • Coughing into the crook of your elbow
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid shaking hands with other people
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick/ have recently travelled to “high transmission areas” ie China, Italy or have been in recent contact with someone with suspected Coronavirus infection
  • Staying home when sick 
  • Regularly clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Masks should only be worn for a max of 12 hours as after this time period their efficacy decreases

Who should be tested for COVID-19 (Coronavirus)?

  • If you fulfil the following criteria, you should be tested for COVID-19
    • Persons with acute respiratory illness with sudden onset of at least one of the following: cough, sore throat, shortness of breath or fever [≥ 38°C (measured) or history of fever (subjective)] irrespective of admission status AND In the 14 days prior to onset of symptoms, met at least one of the following epidemiological criteria: 
    • Were in close contact with a confirmed or probable case of COVID -19 infection; 



  • Worked in, or attended a health care facility where patients with COVID-19 infections were being treated 


  • Admitted with severe pneumonia of unknown aetiology. 

How do I get tested for COVID-19 (Coronavirus)?

  • Should you fulfil the above criteria please call the helpline number below to be directed to your nearest testing centre
  • Alternatively, please call our reception on (021) 683 4300 to be directed to the nearest testing centre
    • You may be asked questions telephonically to assist with completion of necessary testing forms and then directed where to go for testing

NICD HELPLINE NUMBER        0800 029 999 (Monday – Friday 08h00- 16h00)