Friday, January 31, 2020

CORONAVIRUS: LATEST INFORMATION AND ADVICE

The coronavirus is spreading fast.

More than 9,700 people are known to be infected and at least 213 deaths have been recorded.

The bulk of cases have been confined to China, but the virus is gradually spreading to other countries. Cases of the virus have been confirmed in more than 23 countries so far, including the UK.

The Chief Medical Officer confirmed the first 2 cases in the UK, in Newcastle on the 31.1.20.

How is the virus spread?

  • Coronavirus is known as zoonotic, which means it is transmitted between animals and people.
  • This current strain of coronavirus has been confirmed as spreading from human to human.
  • Like cold and flu bugs, the new virus is spread via droplets when a person coughs or sneezes. People catch the virus when they touch their infected hands to their mouth, nose or eyes.
  • The virus has the potential to spread through any human to human personal contact, including touching a surface with the virus on it.
  • Hospitals are also key places where the potentially deadly virus can spread.
  • There are no specific treatments for coronavirus. The best thing to do is limit your exposure to it.

Symptoms

The symptoms of the virus are like other respiratory diseases, including flu and the common cold.

According to the World Health Organisation, they are:

  • Respiratory symptoms
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Breathing difficulties

In more severe cases the infection can cause:

  • Pneumonia
  • Severe acute respiratory syndrome
  • Kidney failure

Symptoms are thought to appear between two and 10 days after contracting the virus.

There is also some evidence, not yet confirmed, that shows the virus may be spread by asymptomatic people - that is people who carry the virus but are not yet sick.

 

If you think you have any of the above symptoms, consider the following:

  • Have you travelled in the last two weeks to any of the high-risk areas?

High risk areas include:

  • Wuhan, China,
  • China

Have you been in contact with anyone who has been to the areas detailed above?

If the answer is yes to any of the questions above:

  • Call your GP to get advice.
  • Call 101 to get advice.
  • Isolate yourself until you are given further advice.

How can I protect myself?

  • Hand hygiene is the first and most important line of defence.
  • The single most important thing you can do to protect yourself is to keep your hands clean by washing them frequently with soap and water or a hand sanitising gel.
  • Also avoid touching your mouth, nose or eyes with unwashed hands.
  • Carry a hand sanitiser with you to make frequent cleaning of hands easy.
  • Always wash your hands before you eat, drink or smoke/vape.
  • Be careful in airports and public transport systems about touching things and then touching your face, mouth eyes or nose.
  • CATCH IT, BIN IT, KILL IT Carry disposable tissues with you when you cough or sneeze cover your nose and mouth.
  • Dispose of the tissue carefully.
  • Do not share utensils or food bowls that others are dipping their fingers into.
  • Avoid close personal contact and actions such as shaking hands or cheek kissing if you think someone may have cold or flu virus symptoms.
  • Regularly sanitize your hands, and other surfaces and devices you touch or handle.

Who could be affected?

As with many respiratory illnesses, it is likely to be the young and old who are most at risk once they get infected.

People with a reduced chance of surviving pneumonia include:

  • Those over age 65
  • Children under the age of two
  • People with underlying health conditions such as diabetes or a weakened immune system

Further information for the public on the outbreak of coronavirus in Wuhan, including the current situation in the UK and information about the virus and its symptoms can be found by following the link below.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-information-for-the-public

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