At the end of December 2019, WHO was alerted about the rising number of pneumonia cases in Wuhan city of China. This raised a lot of concern since the virus was a new species, did not match any known virus and scientists could not figure out how it affected people.
In January 2020, the Chinese experts confirmed that this new virus is a coronavirus, which belongs to a family of viruses that cause the common cold, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and middle east respiratory syndrome (MERS). This virus has been temporarily named “2019-nCoV.”
Currently, WHO is working with the Chinese authorities and scientists from all over the world to learn more about the virus, its causes, symptoms, and treatment. Currently, there is no news by the WHO of coronavirus being an epidemic. However, it has been advised that people should protect themselves and those around them from getting this unknown disease.
Where did the virus originate from?
The scientists believe that coronavirus originated from a seafood market in Wuhan city where illegal meat was also sold. Further research has revealed that this new virus has most probably originated from snakes.
What are the symptoms?
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
- Severe cough
- Difficulty in breathing
How to stay safe?
To reduce the risk of acute respiratory illnesses, it is advised to follow these principles:
- Avoid contact with people suffering from any respiratory illnesses
- Frequently wash hands with an alcohol-based soap, especially after direct contact with people who are ill
- Avoid any contact with farm or wild animals
- If you are suffering from cough and sneezes, maintain distance from other people
- If you are sick, use disposable tissues and wash hands frequently
- Ensure food is cooked properly. Consumption of raw or undercooked food should be avoided
- If you have fever, cough or are experiencing difficulty in breathing, consult a doctor immediately
- If you use single-use mask, dispose off carefully and always wash hands with an alcohol-based handwash
- Maintain good personal hygiene
What precautions should travellers take?
- Avoid touching your face if you have unwashed hands
- Avoid going to crowded places especially markets
- If you are experiencing symptoms like cold, cough, sneezing or wheezing, consult a doctor immediately
- Keep in mind to share your travel history with doctor
- Steer clear from people who are showing above-mentioned symptoms
- If you’re travelling, wear a medical mask at all times. Avoid touching it
How to care for the elderly and at-risk patients?
- Since elderly people and people with comorbidities are more susceptible to catching the infection as well as the mortality is significantly higher, it is important to keep them informed about the ongoing global pandemic.
- Make sure you have gotten their prescription medicines such as insulin, BP medication etc at least for 3-4 weeks and take special care in checking up on them if they develop any symptoms.
- Provide them with information on precautionary measures such as hand and respiratory hygiene, as they might not be active on social media or their access to such vital information is limited
- They are at-risk,so make sure they have masks and hand sanitizers. If you have hoarded more than required, now is the time to step up and donate some to the elderly and at-risk persons.
- Talk to them more than you usually do, do not neglect them. A good mental health during a crisis like this is also essential.
Should I be concerned?
WHO has declared the coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic. People are advised to follow good personal hygiene, local safety measures and consult a doctor when experiencing symptoms of respiratory illness.
If you have any questions related to coronovirus, comment below. Our experts will be happy to help.