Following confirmed cases of COVID-19 in South Africa, Discovery Health is implementing a range of interventions to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, including taking proactive steps to ensure members are covered in the event of potential COVID-19 infection.How does the virus spread?COVID-19 spreads quickly, through:coughing or sneezing – people could catch COVID-19 if they are standing within one metre of a person who has the illness, by breathing in droplets coughed out or exhaled by the ill person;close personal contact, such as when shaking hands or touching others;touching an object or surface on which the virus is found (after an ill person coughs or exhales close to these objects or surfaces such as desks, tables or telephones), then - before washing the hands – touching the mouth, nose, or eyes.What are the symptoms of COVID-19 infection?The primary symptoms include:FeverCoughShortness of breath or difficulty breathing “The global outbreak has proven that no country or citizen is immune to the spread of coronavirus 2019. However, we are confident in our country’s ability to manage the first local case of COVID-19 and further cases as they present.”Discovery Health Medical Scheme (DHMS) WHO Global Outbreak benefitAs the largest open medical scheme in the country, the Discovery Health Medical Scheme (DHMS) has quickly developed the DHMS WHO Global Outbreak Benefit. This new DHMS benefit, which is immediately accessible to members, provides funding in full, from the scheme’s risk pools, to cover the tests and treatment in the case of a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis.“We recognise the importance of being prepared for public health emergencies and of giving our members access to the most appropriate and effective healthcare cover under all circumstances,” says Dr Noach.The WHO Global Outbreak Benefit, complements existing DHMS benefits and is available on all DHMS health plans. In combination with the existing DHMS plan benefits, confirmed cases of COVID-19 are covered for:Diagnostic testingDiagnostic testing for influenzaConsultations with healthcare professionalsDefined supportive treatment and medicines Other health insurance productsPrimary CareIn line with the ethos of Discovery Primary Care to provide comprehensive out-of-hospital primary care cover, all policy holders have access to full funding for testing and treatment costs, for confirmed COVID-19 cases. Primary care members should continue to depend on their existing network of healthcare professionals. This cover is available during the period of the COVID-19 outbreak.Discovery Gap CoverIn order to maximise benefits and cover available to Discovery Gap Cover clients, Discovery will waive any waiting periods in place for current Discovery Gap Cover policy holders, and settle all valid claims where COVID-19 is diagnosed during the outbreak.COVID-19 and seasonal influenza“Given the overlap of the arrival COVID-19 in South Africa with the seasonal influenza season in the Southern Hemisphere, it is even more important to receive the flu vaccine during this specific flu season,” Dr Noach says.Look out for the imminent arrival of the flu vaccine in South Africa and please ensure you are vaccinated at our Discovery Wellness Events, or at your local pharmacy or healthcare professional. The vaccine is particularly relevant for the elderly and for those living with chronic diseases as they are at greater risk of infection.When should individuals consult with their healthcare provider?Doctors can only treat the symptoms of COVID-19 as they present. No specific therapy has been shown to be effective against the virus itself. If you feel ill and have any of the symptoms of infection with COVID-19 you must seek medical care early and share your previous travel history with your healthcare provider.People who contract the COVID-19 may take anywhere from one to 14 days to develop symptoms. Even if you do not have a history of travel to a COVID-19-affected region, or contact with an individual who has acquired the illness, you must still inform your healthcare provider if you experience the symptoms of COVID-19.The Discovery COVID-19 Information HubDiscovery has created a regularly updated Information Hub, accessible to the public on its website, to encourage all South Africans to understand the facts about COVID-19. Everyone should undertake responsible hygiene practices as preventive measures afford the best protection against potential infection. The Information Hub contains a full list of informative articles and is updated regularly based on latest information and research.“We aim to maximise access to accurate information. Full understanding will allay unnecessary anxiety and ensure calm. This information is guided by the NICD guidelines and is aligned to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations,” Dr Noach says.For information on benefits see Extended benefits for COVID-19.DISCLAIMER: Discovery Health Medical Scheme, registration number 1125, is regulated by the Council for Medical Schemes and administered by Discovery Health (Pty) Ltd, registration number 1997/013480/07, an authorised financial services provider. Discovery Primary Care is not a medical scheme. The cover is not the same as that of a medical scheme and is not intended to be a substitute for medical scheme membership. Discovery Primary Care is offered by Discovery Life Limited, registration number 1966/003901/06, a registered long-term insurer and an authorised financial services and registered credit provider NCR Reg No. NCRCP 355555. Discovery Vitality (Proprietary) Limited, registration number: 1999/007736/07 is an authorised financial services provider. Product rules, terms and conditions apply. Discovery Primary Care is administered by Discovery Health (Proprietary) Limited, registration number 1997/013480/07, an authorised financial services provider. Discovery Gap Cover is an insurance product. This is not a medical scheme and the cover is not the same as that of a medical scheme. This policy is not a substitute for medical scheme membership. Discovery Gap Cover is a short-term insurance policy, underwritten by Discovery Insure Ltd, registration number 2009/011882/06, an authorised financial services provider. Product rules, terms and conditions apply.This post and content is sponsored, written and provided by Discovery.