Coronavirus Outbreak: How To Stay Safe?

The Coronavirus outbreak has now reached more than 50 countries across the world, and with effects on markets as well as travels across the world, this is easily the biggest health scare we have witnessed in recent times. Amidst stringent actions taken by the governments in the affected countries, there are a number of fake news populating that instils fear in the minds of people.

World Health Organization has put out a list of precautionary steps we must take to stay safe during these times. They range from simple steps we can and should take in our homes to at the workplace as well as what we need to remember when travelling:

1. Washing your hands frequently:

Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. This would kill viruses that may be on your hands.

2. Maintaining a safe distance:

To be safe, it is stated that we maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing. When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain the virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.

3. Do NOT touch the eyes, nose and mouth:

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. Use disposable tissues and throw them away after use

4. Ensure you follow basic hygiene:

Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately. By following good respiratory hygiene you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19.

5. Consult a doctor at the earliest:

Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority. This will also protect you and help prevent the spread of viruses and other infections.

For those who are travelling: 

For those who are planning a travel to affected areas- here are the pointers you need to keep in mind based on WHO recommendations:

It is prudent for travellers who are sick to delay or avoid travel to affected areas, in particular for elderly travellers and people with chronic diseases or underlying health conditions.

General recommendations for personal hygiene, cough etiquette and keeping a distance of at least one metre from persons showing symptoms remain particularly important for all travellers. These include:

  • Perform hand hygiene frequently, particularly after contact with respiratory secretions. Hand hygiene includes either cleaning hands with soap and water or with an alcohol-based hand rub. Alcohol-based hand rubs are preferred if hands are not visibly soiled; wash hands with soap and water when they are visibly soiled;
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a flexed elbow or paper tissue when coughing or sneezing and disposing immediately of the tissue and performing hand hygiene;
  • Refrain from touching mouth and nose
  • A medical mask is not required if exhibiting no symptoms, as there is no evidence that wearing a mask – of any type – protects non-sick persons. However, in some cultures, masks may be commonly worn. If masks are to be worn, it is critical to follow best practices on how to wear, remove and dispose of them and on hand hygiene after removal