This morning, Friday 28th February 2020, Nigeria confirmed its first case of coronavirus in an Italian worker who recently arrived from his home country. The said victim has been quarantined and his workplace, Agip Saipem in Banana Island, Lagos has also been locked down. It is crucial that we take the necessary precautions to prevent us from contracting this deadly virus.
The new Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a novel virus that has never been experienced in humans until 30th December 2019 when a Doctor in Wuhan first “posted his chat room warning on Dec. 30, the new coronavirus had not yet been identified. He said it resembled Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS, an earlier coronavirus that ravaged China nearly two decades ago.”
The coronavirus is a family of viruses that range from the common cold to MERS coronavirus (the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus), SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus) and the new coronavirus (COVID-19). Coronaviruses are found animals, and some have the capability to transmit between animals and humans, which is called the spillover event.
The new coronavirus, like others, causes respiratory symptoms such as breathing difficulties, cough, and sneezing. The coronavirus has no treatment yet, but the symptoms can be treated. According to New York Times, researchers say “the median of patients is between 49 and 56.”
The incubation period, which is the time between infection and the onset of clinical symptoms, for the new coronavirus is about 14 days, similar to other coronaviruses like MERS and SARS.
Ways to prevent yourself from being infected are by:
1. Washing your hands with soap and water frequently, or by using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to remove the virus from the hands;
2. Keeping 1-3 meter distance between you and people who are coughing, sneezing or have a fever, because the droplets they project may contain the virus, which you could breathe in by staying too close;
3. Sneezing into your elbow, or use a tissue and discard it into a closed bin immediately;
4. Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and your face generally, because your hands touch surfaces that may be contaminated and if you touch your face with your hands, the virus may be transferred from your hand to your face;
5. Avoiding unnecessary unprotected contact with live animals, and wash your hands with soap and water immediately after touching animals;
6. Making sure your meat is thoroughly cooked before consumption;
7. If you have a cough, fever, or breathing difficulties, see a health care practitioner and share a history of recent travels;
If you have no history of recent travels to China or any other country with a record of coronavirus, follow the basic health and respiratory hygiene, and stay at home until you are completely well;
8. Do not use face masks because if you use them, you will have to adjust them time after time which leads to you touching your face, and may, in turn, lead to the transfer of the virus from your hands to your body.
For more information, visit World Health Organization website.