What is Coronavirus?
Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERSCoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.
Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people. Detailed investigations found that SARS-CoV was transmitted from civet cats to humans and MERS-CoV from dromedary camels to humans. Several known coronaviruses are circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans.
The new, or “novel” coronavirus, now called Covid-19 and is from the same family of SARS. BUT IT IS NOT THE SAME VIRUS AS SARS.
Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.
At present, there is no evidence that pets such as cats and dogs have been infected or that they are the cause of spread of Covid-19.
Yes, it can. There is a possibility getting infected after close contact with an infected person, in a household workplace, or health care centre without proper preventive measures.
- Wash hands frequently and correctly with an alcohol-based hand rub, or soap and water, to kill the virus if it is on your hands.
- Maintain social distancing - maintain at least 3-metre distance between yourself and other people, particularly to those who are coughing, sneezing and having a fever.
- Don’t touch eyes, nose and mouth without washing your hands first - your hands might have touched different surfaces that might be contaminated with the virus.
- Touching your face without proper hand washing might transfer the virus to yourself. If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early - be honest and tell your practitioner where you have been, or if you have had close contact with others who have been to China or have respiratory symptoms.
- Medical masks can help to limit the spread of some respiratory diseases. However, using a mask itself is not sufficient. You should combine with other prevention measures, including hand and respiratory hygiene and avoid close contact with others.
- According to WHO, rationale use of the medical masks is advised, thus avoiding unnecessary wastage of limited resources and possibility of incorrect use of masks. Use a mask if you have respiratory symptoms, have suspected Covid-19 infection with mild symptoms or are caring for somebody with suspected Covid-19 infection. Also, wear a mask if you are in close contact with someone who has travelled from China and has respiratory symptoms.
There is a lot of information going around on the internet, and some of which is factual and some is simple assumption with no scientific proof.
- People say - It’s been circulating that the virus can be affixed to an object and thus receiving a package from China would pose a threat.
- What does WHO say? - It is safe to collect a parcel. People are not at risk. From the previous analysis, coronaviruses do not survive long on objects such as letters or packages.
- According to WHO - No, it doesn’t. Current vaccines such as pneumococcal vaccine and Haemophilus influenza type B vaccine do not provide protection against this new coronavirus. It needs its vaccine and researchers are working to develop one. However, it is still recommended to have vaccinations against respiratory illnesses.
- According to WHO - No, there is no evidence to support this. No evidence shows that rinsing the nose with saline will help to prevent respiratory infections.
- People say - Since garlic is good for disinfection, people should eat garlic to prevent infection
- What does WHO say? - garlic is a type of healthy food and may have some antimicrobial properties. However, no study shows that eating garlic protect people from catching the new coronavirus.
In the situations where people need to wear a mask, the mask wearer has to bear in mind that improper use of mask would possibly result in getting infected and wearing a mask alone doesn’t provide sufficient protection; it must be accompanied by other preventive measures.
- Wash hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water, before putting on a mask.
- Cover mouth and nose with mask and make sure there are no gaps between your face and the mask.
- Avoid touching the mask while using it; if you need to touch it, clean your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water before touching your mask.
- Removing the mask: Remove it from behind ( DO NOT touch the front of the mask where the virus might be present). Discard the mask at once in a closed bin; wash your hands afterwards with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
Stay healthy, get more exercise, maintain good hygiene and keep up a positive attitude towards the situation.