Coronavirus News and Updates

Facts About the Coronavirus COVID-19

Ever since this whole thing started, you may have come across two terms: Coronavirus and COVID-19. So, what is the difference between them?

Well, there are many different types of coronaviruses. They are viruses that are common both in people and different animal species, but they rarely transmit from animal to human. In this case, it did.

So if a person is infected with a coronavirus, they will develop symptoms and get sick. The COVID-19, which stands for CoronaVirus Disease 2019, is an infectious disease caused by a coronavirus that hasn’t been previously identified in humans. There was another outbreak of a contagious respiratory disease caused by a coronavirus back in 2002, known as SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome).

This coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is believed to have originated in an animal market in Wuhan, China, where the first people were infected from an animal. Then, it began rapidly spreading from human to human as well, first in China, then worldwide.

At the time of writing (mid-March, 2020), there have been more than 120,000 reported cases of the virus worldwide, the majority of which are in China (over 80,000). The second-largest outbreak is in Italy, followed by Iran, South Korea, and Spain. Overall, it is spread in more than 126 countries and regions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) finally declared the COVID-19 a pandemic.

What are the Symptoms of the Coronavirus?

If you become infected with the coronavirus, you may develop the following symptoms 2-14 days after exposure:

  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Difficulty breathing (in more severe cases)

The symptoms of the coronavirus are very similar to that of the seasonal flu, so just because you develop the aforementioned symptoms, it does not mean you necessarily have COVID-19. In severe cases, coronavirus patients may also develop pneumonia.

How is the Coronavirus Spread?

The coronavirus can be transmitted:

  • From person to person. If someone coughs or sneezes near you or you are simply in close contact with them, you can get the coronavirus through their airborne respiratory droplets. This is the main way the disease has spread so far.
  • From contaminated surfaces. If a person who has been infected with COVID-19 touches a surface, the virus could live there for hours. If you touch the surface and then touch your face (eyes, nose, or mouth) you can be infected with the virus as well – so make sure to wash your hands frequently and thoroughly.

How Dangerous is the Coronavirus?

Most of the people who become infected with the coronavirus will overcome it without any serious complications. A large number of them may not even have to be hospitalized, but can instead self-isolate and recover at home. However, the elderly and people with underlying health conditions are more vulnerable to the coronavirus.

The overall fatality rate of the COVID-19 appears to be around 3.4%, but it is not evenly distributed among age groups. Ages 9-39 have the lowest fatality rate so far (about 0.2%) whereas, for those aged over 80, the rate goes to 14%, according to a report by the Chinese Center for Disease Control.

Therefore, if you are young and healthy, your biggest concern should not be whether you survive the disease if you catch it (you likely will) but that you may pass it on to someone else who is not so lucky.

Coronavirus Travel Ban Map

Map of countries that have imposed travel bans due to coronavirus outbreak

Coronavirus News

DHS Makes It Easier to Hire H-2A Workers Who Are Already in US

The Department of Homeland Security and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is trying to ease the labour shortage in the US amid the Coronavirus crisis, by issuing a new rule that enables to temporary change certain H-2A requirements so the agricultural employers could be able to hire H-2A workers who are already in the United States. The new rule aims to help agricultural employers in the US to avoid disruptions in lawful agricultural-related employment. It also [...]

By |2020-04-17T11:15:22+02:00April 17th, 2020|Coronavirus News and Updates, US Visa/Passport News|

USCIS: Options of Legal Stay for Nonimmigrants Stranded in US Amid COVID-19

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services aims to help the nonimmigrants who remain in the US for unexpected reasons beyond their authorizes period of stay because of the coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19) through new options published on the USCIS official website. According to the USCIS press release, a large number of nonimmigrants can mitigate the immigration consequences of COVID-19  by filing an application for extension of stay (EOS) or change in status (COS), VisaGuide.World reports. Under the coronavirus [...]

By |2020-04-17T09:31:53+02:00April 17th, 2020|Coronavirus News and Updates, US Visa/Passport News|

US Allows Visa Students to Take Classes Online From Home

International students who hold F-1 and I-20 visas, and are taking spring courses remotely in the US will be able to maintain their active status even if they are not in the US, according to the temporary decision of the Department of Homeland Security. On regular bases, international students are ineligible to maintain their active status under F-1 and I-20 visas through remote classes, which are the most common international student visas, but the latest decision came [...]

By |2020-04-15T09:15:57+02:00April 15th, 2020|Coronavirus News and Updates, US Visa/Passport News|

Yemen Opens Border With Saudi Arabia Four Days After Closure

The government of Yemeni has decided to reopen the border crossing with Saudi Arabia, four days after closing it due to coronavirus (COVID-19), but the new decision will apply only to commercial cargo. On Sunday, Deputy Prime Minister and acting Minister of Transport, Salem Al-Khanbashi, asked the port administration to reopen the border crossing with Saudi Arabia, which is the only transition point between both countries, for commercial cargo, while keeping it closed for citizens for an [...]

South Korea Suspends Entry for 88 Countries Amid Coronavirus

South Korea’s government has decided to ban visa-exempt and visa-free entry for travellers coming from countries who imposed entry bans on Korea, as a reciprocity decision amid coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19) Prime Minister Chung Sye-Kyun announced. A total of  88 nations will be subject to Korea’s temporarily entry restriction, out of the 148 countries that imposed an entry ban for this country, VisaGuide.World reports. The latest decision will be applied on 54 countries with visa waiver agreements including [...]

US Announces Visa Sanctions on Countries Refusing to Repatriate Their Citizens

US President Donald Trump announced that the US will impose new visa sanctions against countries that do not accept to repatriate their citizens who are currently in the US during the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). The memorandum issued by President Trump will be effective immediately until December 31 this year, VisaGuide.World reports.  “Countries that deny or unreasonably delay the acceptance of their citizens, subjects, nationals, or residents from the United States during the ongoing pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 [...]

By |2020-04-13T14:48:53+02:00April 13th, 2020|Coronavirus News and Updates, US Visa/Passport News|

Nepal to Extend Tourist Visas for Free Amid Coronavirus

Nepal is extending tourist visas for free in an effort to help stranded tourists, as the country faces a national lockdown due to the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic. “Tourists whose visas have expired during the period of lockdown will be exempt of the charge,” chief immigration officer of Immigration Office at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA), Sagar Acharya pointed out. The country’s imposed lockdown prohibits all kind of services, including transportation. Only emergency cases will be exempted [...]

By |2020-04-09T16:02:05+02:00April 9th, 2020|Coronavirus News and Updates|

Coronavirus: Immigrant Doctors Unable to Help in US Due to Strict Visa Rules

More than 10,000 doctors trained in the US are ineligible to help the hospitalized patients, infected by the novel coronavirus due to visa restrictions, even though the US is in a public health emergency. While the US has the largest number of infections and it’s considered the new epicentre of the disease, more than one-quarter of physicians in the US are foreign-born and unable to help America during the COVID-19 crisis because for them it’s illegal to [...]

Fiji Welcomes Visa Extensions for Its Citizens Working in Australia and NZ

Fiji’s Minister for Employment, Parveen Bala appreciated Australia and New Zealand’s decision to extend visas for another 12 months, for Fijians who are working under the Seasonal Worker Programme and Pacific Labour Scheme in Australia and New Zealand. The minister confirmed that all Fijians who are temporarily working in these two territories are not infected by the coronavirus pandemic, VisaGuide.World reports. Bala said that Australia’s government decision includes the extending of visas for workers who are in [...]

By |2020-04-07T17:31:00+02:00April 7th, 2020|Coronavirus News and Updates|

Myanmar Migrant Workers Stranded at Border After Returning From China

Hundreds of Myanmar migrant workers who are returning from China have found themselves stranded near the border in Shan State, as the authorities have blocked access to the main road. The workers - roughly 300 of them - cannot enter the country without undergoing a mandatory 14-day quarantine period, as part of government measures against COVID-19. Most of them work in the China-Myanmar border area. However, despite blocking the border, Myanmar government authorities have made no accommodation [...]