In the past few weeks, news of the coronavirus outbreak in China has taken center stage and spread worldwide. Also known as 2019-nCov or Wuhan coronavirus, the virus is believed to be linked to the Hua Nan Seafood Market in Wuhan through close human-to-animal contact.
Although the market has been shut down to limit the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus, the virus has since made its way to several other countries in Asia as well as small parts of Europe and North America. As the number of cases continue to increase, health and safety during transit and travel are becoming more important. If you happen to have upcoming travel plans, here are some simple precautions you can take to protect yourself from contracting the disease.
1. Practice frequent washing with soap
Wash your hands often and thoroughly with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. This is an important tip especially after touching surfaces in public that are frequently touched by others such as doorknobs, staircase banisters and elevator buttons. Be mindful of not touching your face and wash your hands right after. If you have no immediate access to soap and water, carrying a hand sanitiser around will help with practicing frequent cleaning.
2. Follow respiratory etiquette
When you cough or sneeze, the droplets of fluid from your nose and mouth can carry infections. So, it is important to cover your mouth and nose whether with a tissue or the crook of your elbow to prevent from spreading potentially contaminated fluids. If you're experiencing constant sneezing or coughing and expect to be around other people, make sure to put on a surgical mask to prevent the spreading of your illness.
3. Keep minimal contact with people
Stay away from overly crowded areas and do your best to avoid shaking hands or giving hugs. It is best for you to minimize your contact with people during an epidemic like this where the disease is easily spread through close contact.
4. Avoid travel to farms, live animal markets or where animals are slaughtered
If travelling to these places is unavoidable, avoid direct unprotected contact with live animals and surfaces in contact with animals. It should also be noted that consumption of raw or under-cooked animal products should be avoided. Raw meat, milk or animal organs should be handled with extra care in order to avoid cross-contamination with uncooked foods.
5. Seek necessary medical treatment
In the case of a fever, difficulty of breathing or non-stop coughing, you should immediately seek medical care. Share your travel history with the medical staff so that they will be fully informed and can proceed to properly treat you.
As efforts to contain and treat those affected by the virus are heavily underway, understanding prevention and practicing these health precautions while travelling should be a priority in order to stay safe from the coronavirus.