The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) virus is the cause of an infection known as coronavirus infectious disease 2019 (COVID-19). COVID-19 has become a global source of morbidity, mortality and social disruption since its emergence in East Asia in late 2019 and subsequent pandemic spread. Typical symptoms include cough, sore throat, fever, and sudden loss of taste and smell. Persistent, post-infection sequelae have been noted in a minority of cases. Severe complications and deaths occur mostly in older adults. Laboratory confirmation can be performed by viral RNA and antigen detection in nasal swabs or by detecting specific neutralizing antibodies. There is no effective and approved antiviral treatment, but several vaccines with favourable safety and efficacy profiles are being used in mass vaccination programmes. Vaccine-based COVID control should be seen as an addition to existing hygiene measures such as physical distancing, increased hand hygiene, cough etiquette, and barrier protection with personal protective equipment for frontline healthcare workers and other high-risk professions.