At this point, it goes without saying that coronavirus has shaken up all of our day-to-day lives.
So far the virus has spread across six continents, and citizens of more than 100 countries have been under orders to stay at home.
With events constantly changing, we’ve put together this FAQ sheet to bring you some help, tips and perspective. Life these days involves a lot less going out than usual, which is why we've temporarily changed our name to Time In. The most important thing now is to stay clued up on the official advice (in Spanish), as detailed below.
Think you’re coming down with something? Worried you’ll have to cancel your holiday plans? Stay up to date with our guide to the latest coronavirus guidance and developments.
What is coronavirus?
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that started in animals and is now being transmitted between humans. The symptoms include coughs, fever, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. First identified in Wuhan, China, the virus has (as of June 1) affected more than six million people in 213 countries and territories. More than 370,000 have died, while around 2.6 million have already recovered. On March 11 the World Health Organisation labelled the outbreak a ’pandemic’.
How bad is coronavirus?
Unlike flu, there is no vaccine (yet), and recovery depends on the strength of the immune system. In severe cases the virus may cause pneumonia and/or organ failure.
Compared to SARS (another coronavirus that hit headlines in 2003), the mortality rate of COVID-19 is low: around 3.4 percent according to the latest WHO estimate. This is, however, significantly higher than regular seasonal flu, which is fatal in around 0.1 percent of cases. So far, COVID-19 also appears to be more contagious than seasonal flu.
The elderly and those with long-term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease are most likely to develop a severe illness relating to COVID-19. The death rate is ten times higher among the very elderly compared with the middle-aged, according to the WHO. Children are less likely to be affected.
Which countries have been worst hit by coronavirus?
There have been serious outbreaks all around the world. As of June 1, there have been more than 1.8 million confirmed cases in the US, around 515,000 in Brazil, some 420,000 in Russia, more than 275,000 in the UK and more than 239,000 in Spain. You can keep track of the spread of the disease on this map created by Johns Hopkins University. The WHO advises against travelling to areas experiencing ongoing transmission of COVID-19.
To check the current coronavirus measures and travel guidelines for your country, click here.
How will coronavirus affect my day-to-day life?
First: don’t panic.
The spread of the virus outside China wasn’t unexpected, and governments have been making plans and issuing advice. On Saturday, March 14, Spain declared a state of emergency, and shops, bars and restaurants across the country were closed. Residents are to stay at home, with the exceptions of going to food markets, pharmacies, essential doctor's appointments and banks. Those who cannot work from home are also permitted to travel to and from work (new restrictions apply as of March 30), as is anyone who looks after dependents.
As Spain moves into its various phases of de-escalation, it’s important to keep up with which restrictions are active and which are loosened in each phase. On Monday, May 25, Madrid moved into Phase 1. Each phase is scheduled to last a minimum of two weeks.
When it comes to personal hygiene, the WHO recommends regularly washing hands with soap; carrying and using alcohol-based hand sanitiser; refraining from touching your nose and mouth; covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing; and keeping a distance of at least a metre between yourself and others.
If you experience any symptoms of COVID-19 (cough, fever and difficulty breathing), ring 900 102 112.
If you experience any symptoms of COVID-19, call 061.
In Valencia, the special phone number to call for medical attention related to the coronavirus is 900 300 555.
The telephone number for coronavirus-related medical attention in Andalusia is 955 540 060.
For more information in Bilbao and the Basque Country about the coronavirus, call 900 203 050.
Should I avoid travelling because of coronavirus?
There are now travel restrictions, border closures and health checks in place in many countries. If you’ve recently been to certain badly affected areas, entry to other countries may be denied or you could be placed in quarantine.
Here’s everything we know so far about when we might be able to travel again – and see below for your government’s latest official travel advice.
What are the official guidelines for my country?