Coronavirus: Outbreak, Reality and Precautions
When all of us across different countries were celebrating the new year in all our different local ways, China was at the tipping point of what now is a global health emergency. On 31st December 2019, the first case of nCoV (Novel CoronaVirus) was detected whose outbreak has now been declared a global health emergency by WHO.
You might know that it is mostly affecting people in China, but a small number of people from many countries around the world have been infected by it. You might be concerned as to how it is going to influence your life and travel plans. Let’s try to answer these questions one by one.
Firstly, coronavirus is not a single virus, but a large family of viruses. It is not new. The SARS and the MERS were viruses which belonged to this family. The virus which is making rounds these days has been named 2019-nCoV (Novel Coronavirus) . The current estimate suggests that more than 25000 people have been infected and around 600 have died due to the infection. This means that it has a mortality rate of around 2%. Only 1 in 50 people infected by this novel coronavirus have died.
Although it is not clear as to what the source of this virus is, it is suspected that it has come from bats through some form of contact. It has managed to spread rapidly through human to human contact, similar to common cold.
The symptoms of this disease are cough, runny nose, fever and sore throat. This makes it difficult to ascertain as to whether a person is really infected by the virus. With an incubation period of around 2-11 days your symptoms will start appearing quite a few days after being infected.
If you are showing these symptoms but have not had contact with anyone from China or anyone who you suspect to be infected, it is very likely that you are not infected. Also, it has been seen that most people who have suffered mortality after being infected are those whose immune systems were already weak or were old. Having said that, it is better to get checked than stay in doubt.
Now what should you do to reduce your chances of being infected? Scientists have said that general precautions which are used to prevent common cold are applicable in this case as well. Wash your hands well, avoid contact with people who display symptoms, avoid touching your face, nose and eyes unnecessarily and stay at home if you are sick. Even though many people have bought a mask, it does not seem to help. In fact, it is recommended that those who are infected should wear it to prevent spreading it to others.
Many countries are discouraging their citizens to visit China, unless it is absolutely necessary. It is better to consult a medical professional before making a decision to travel to any country which has a high number of infected people. Even if you do choose to travel to China, you could face travel restrictions on return, including quarantine. So, it’s best to avoid going there until the situation is brought under control. Airlines themselves have stopped flights to and from China, while neighbouring countries are testing everyone who might be at risk. For traveling to countries around China, just check with your localite about any alerts or precautions declared and plan accordingly.
There is no need to panic. The chances of you dying due to the infection are extremely low. But exercising caution is important. We hope and pray for the safety and well being of everyone in and outside our global community.
We as a global community care for every everyone's safety. So before making any travel plans to any city, connect with a localite friend for free and get their inputs about the coronavirus condition in the city you're going to.
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Stay safe and travel safe.
Have a good day!