With the recent outbreak of the Coronavirus in India a few days ago, there has been a large scale panic in the country. The virus has taken over Wuhan, spreading across the eastern regions of China. While Wuhan is under lockdown and China is placing massive efforts into controlling the outbreak, there are no recognised treatments or vaccines for the virus yet.
World Health Organization and other health departments around the world have issued advisories, and protection guidelines to keep its citizens safe and minimize the panic. However, the latest diagnosis of 28 cases of COVID-19 in India itself, people have started to panic again.
In light of this, here are some ways you can stay protected and keep those around you protected from the virus.
1. Wash your hands: Wet your hands with clean, running water and apply soap. Lather your hands, including the backs, between your fingers, and under your nails and scrub for at least 20 seconds. Rinse.
2. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze: Then throw the tissue in the bin and wash your hands. If you do not have a tissue to hand, cough or sneeze into your elbow rather than your hands.
3. Face masks offer some protection: Face masks only block liquid droplets. However, they do not block smaller aerosol particles that can pass through the material of the mask. The masks also leave the eyes exposed and there is evidence that some viruses can infect a person through the eyes.
4. Seek early medical help: If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, and share your travel history with healthcare providers.
5. Limit live market visits: If visiting live markets in affected areas avoid direct, unprotected contact with live animals and surfaces that have been in contact with animals. Make sure you also cook your meat well and have no raw portions.
6. Maintain social distancing: Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
7. Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth: Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.
8. Stay informed and follow the advice given by your doctor: Stay informed on the latest developments about COVID-19. Follow the advice given by your healthcare provider, your national and local public health authority or your employer on how to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.
If you have returned from an affected area in the last two weeks, stay indoors and avoid contact with other people for 14 days. This means not going to work, school or public areas.
Even though the virus poses a threat, it's best to stay calm and collected instead of creating a mass panic. Protecting yourself and others is very important, following the steps mentioned above will help you ensure your safety. To keep track of advisories, health concerns and cases you can check the WHO website here.