CORONAVIRUS. Overnight, the world has been thrown into panic as this vicious virus originating in China started rapidly spreading in and around China. “Where did it come from? What can it do? Will it kill us? How can we stop it?” are just some of the questions going through people’s minds. This article will explore all you need to know on Corona virus and what you can do to be well aware of its development and spread.
What is the Corona Virus and how do you get it?
As the name suggests, it is a virus, which means that it cannot be killed by using antibiotics. Most commonly, the corona virus is transmitted from animal to person. Unfortunately, this type of coronavirus has now become transmittable from person to person. The transfer of this virus between people can occur via coughing, sneezing or even just close contact with an infected person.
Where did the Wuhan Corona Virus come from and where is it now?
The Wuhan Corona Virus is said to have originated from a live animal and seafood market in Wuhan City China. It has since spread nationally and internationally with the cases as on 27 January 2020 being as follows:
2,804 – China (with 81 deaths)
8 – Hong Kong
8 – Thailand
6 – Macau
5 – Australia
5 – Taiwan
5 – United States
4 – Japan
4 – Malaysia
4 – Singapore
4 – South Korea
3 – France
2 – Vietnam
1 – Nepal
1 – Canada
It is quite daunting looking at these statistics and the mere fact that this virus is spreading THAT fast. It is advisable to please take extra precaution if you are planning to travel to or from these places. Also, if you or anyone you know has travelled to these places recently, be on the lookout for symptoms of infection and visit your nearest hospital as soon as possible.
What are the signs and symptoms?
The signs and symptoms of the coronavirus are very similar to the common cold and flu. These include:
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
- Body aches
- The general feeling of being unwell
With the Wuhan coronavirus, this common cold/flu can rapidly become a serious pneumonia (chest infection) that can be fatal. Thus, if you or anyone you know has recently travelled and develops these symptoms, it is of the UTMOST importance that you urgently alert the health authorities. This is not one of those illnesses about which we can say, “It will pass. Let me watch it”. Save yourself. Save your loved ones. Save our country by not allowing this virus to spread.
Is there a treatment for this virus?
Firstly, let me stress once again that if you develop these symptoms, it is very important to report to your nearest health care provider so that they may assess you and decide on a management plan.
Treatment for this illness is usually referred to as supportive treatment because no antibiotics or curative treatment exists. Supportive treatment will include:
- Pain and fever medication
- Nebulising or oxygen
- Keeping away from others
How can I protect myself from getting Corona Virus?
The World Health Organisation and the Government of Botswana have not issued any travel bans however, they do recommend exercising extra precaution. This includes:
- Wash your hands very often with soap and water. Thereafter if possible, use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser. DO NOT only use a hand sanitiser.
- When coughing or sneezing, do so into a flexed elbow or a tissue. Immediately dispose of the tissue and wash your hands.
- Avoid close contact with anyone who seems to be sneezing, coughing or looks unwell.
- During travel, you may opt to wear an infection prevention face mask. However, please ensure that you have the correct type of mask and are utilising it correctly.
- Thoroughly cook meat and eggs.
- Avoid going to open food market places abroad and consuming food at said markets.
Most importantly, please remember that overall good personal hygiene is key in preventing and reducing the spread of any kind of respiratory illness.
Government comments on suspected case of Coronavirus in Botswana
Botswana announced this week that the country registered its first suspected case of coronavirus on the 30th January 2020. The government said in a press release that the suspected case was registered at Sir Seretse Khama International Airport upon arrival using Ethiopian Airways from China. It said the person was still under isolation at Block 8 Clinic and that investigations were on-going.
By Saturday, February 1, the Ministry of Health and Wellness through the government Facebook page had issued yet another update. The statement confirmed five suspected Coronavirus cases presenting flu-like symptoms since January 30, 2020 . All the five people arrived at the Sir Seretse Khama International Airport (SKIA), the release stated. The five are cases are reportedly isolated at designated health facilities while awaiting laboratory results, with the specimen having been sent to the regional reference laboratory in the Republic of South Africa.
For further information, please contact the Ministry of Health and Wellness at – 3632574 or 0800 600 740 or visit the nearest health facility or call.
Botswana intensifies screening of travellers at entry ports
This comes hot on the heels of the government announcing on Wednesday that it has intensified the screening of travellers at ports of entry as it steps up efforts to prevent entry of the virus into the country.
Officials from the ministries of Health and Wellness, International Affairs and Cooperation, Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology as well as the World Health Organization informed journalists that the Southern African nation was at risk due to the high number of tourists. Director of Health Services in the Ministry of Health, Malaki Tshipayagae said screening has started at all port of entries and travellers are being provided with information pamphlets.
By YourBotswana writer: Dr. Noorain Lottering-Kokabi, BMSc, MBBS (UWI MONA) – 27 January 2020
Other sources: Botswana Government Facebook page / http://apanews.net/en/news/coronavirus-botswana-intensifies-screening-of-travellers-at-entry-ports