Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).
A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.
On Thursday January 30, 2020, The coronavirus outbreak was declared an international public health emergency by the World Health Organisation.
Speaking at a press conference WHO director general, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said the decision to declare an emergency was prompted by the spread of the virus to countries with weaker health systems.
“The main reason for this declaration is not because of what is happening in China,” said Dr Tedros. “Our greatest concern is the deportation of the virus… to countries with weaker health systems and which are ill-prepared to deal with it.”
Coronavirus, which usually causes respiratory illness, WHO’s standard recommendations for the general public to reduce exposure to and transmission of a range of illnesses are as follows, which include hand and respiratory hygiene, and safe food practices:
- Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water;
- When coughing and sneezing cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue – throw tissue away immediately and wash hands;
- Avoid close contact with anyone who has fever and cough;
- If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing seek medical care early and share previous travel history with your health care provider;
- When visiting live markets in areas currently experiencing cases of novel coronavirus, avoid direct unprotected contact with live animals and surfaces in contact with animals;
- The consumption of raw or undercooked animal products should be avoided. Raw meat, milk or animal organs should be handled with care, to avoid cross-contamination with uncooked foods, as per good food safety practices.
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