Coronavirus: What you need to know
Article revised on 24 March 2020
Do you have questions about what your insurance covers in relation to COVID-19?
Consult our FAQ
We want to help you separate fact from fiction with regard to COVID-19, so here’s what you need to know about coronavirus disease including the symptoms, risks and what you can do to keep it at bay.
What is it?
The members of this large family of viruses were named based on their appearance. When looked at under a microscope, you can see crown-like spikes on their surfaces.
Coronaviruses can result in problems with varying levels of severity, ranging from a common cold to rare but more severe complications such as kidney failure, pneumonia or gastrointestinal problems.
Most of the time, the infection is fairly mild, and the symptoms are similar to those of a cold:
- Runny nose
- Cough and sore throat
- Breathing difficulties
- A general feeling of being unwell
The seriousness of coronavirus symptoms depends generally on the state of health of the victims. Because their immune system is more fragile, the elderly, young children and chronic illness sufferers are among the most at risk of suffering complications.
What you can do to protect yourself and curb the spread?
If you are visiting a region where there is a coronavirus outbreak, it’s important to protect yourself, especially if you have a weakened immune system. To reduce the risks of infection or contagious diseases, follow the advice provided by the World Health Organization and the Government of Canada:
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm running water for at least 20 seconds. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands. Have a small bottle of hand sanitizer handy, in case there’s no water.
- Avoid spending time in crowds or crowded places.
- Avoid having visitors in your home.
- Keep a distance of at least one meter (three feet) from people who are coughing or sneezing.
- Cover your mouth and nose with your arm when you cough or sneeze, to reduce the spread of germs. If you use a tissue, dispose of it as soon as possible and wash your hands afterwards.
If you become ill
Do your symptoms cause you to think you might have a coronavirus infection?
Isolate yourself at home as soon as possible and consult your health professional.
If travelling abroad
Notify the medical assistance service included with your travel insurance contract right away. The telephone number is on your insurance certificate, and there’s often a card that you can keep in your wallet.
The medical assistance service will:
- Evaluate the symptoms you describe and refer you to a clinic where you can receive the appropriate care
Important: During your medical consultation, tell the specialist if you have visited an area at risk (such as a farm) or been in contact with someone who has a coronavirus infection.
- If necessary, give you access to interpretation services to facilitate communication with care providers who speak a different language than you
- Plan for your emergency repatriation, if necessary
Need some information about travel and the pandemic? The Government of Canada regularly posts information on the following pages:
Consult our FAQ for information on insurance coverage in relation to COVID-19.