The coronavirus epidemic, which began to make headlines since January 2020, has since then claimed more than 2000 lives in China. Globally, 80,155 people have been affected by it ever since. The whole world is worried because we still haven’t come up with a way to halt its progress.
Here are a few things that are known about coronavirus-
- This virus belongs to the same family of pathogens like the one that caused SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome).
- There are 76,392 confirmed cases of coronavirus in China, all of which are being treated.
- In 80.9% of the cases in China, coronavirus is considered ‘benign’. In 13.8% of the cases, the infection is considered ‘serious’. 4.7% of the cases have turned critical.
- The Centre of Diseases Control has said that senior citizens are more likely to contract coronavirus.
- People with diabetes or heart problems have to be extra careful because these conditions are risk factors of coronavirus.
- The symptoms of coronavirus are the same as those of cough, common cold and the flu.
- It is believed that the virus first originated from bats. The virus has the ability to jump from one species to another and spreads the same way as the flu does.
- Currently, 34 countries have reported an outbreak of coronavirus. Iran and Italy are the most recent entrants to this list, proving that coronavirus is spreading far and wide.
What is the situation like in India?
Is India immune to the coronavirus risk? No. Since we have trade relations with China, and many people travel back and forth from China both for business and travel, the possibility of a coronavirus outbreak in India is very much possible.
Here a few updates-
- The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has advised people not to travel to China until the epidemic subsides completely.
- Any person who has travelled to China since January and has returned to the country is being quarantined. All international airports in India are on high alert and all people coming in from countries with reported cases of coronavirus are being kept under observation.
- Since cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Thailand and Singapore very recently, Indians returning from these two countries are being screened at the airports.
- Screening stations have been set up at checkpoints along India’s border with Bhutan and Nepal.
- One person from Kerala has tested positive for coronavirus. Fortunately, everyone else who has been screened and quarantined has tested negative. They are healthy and they have returned home to their loved ones.
What should you do if you are travelling abroad?
We do not know when this outbreak will die down. Does that mean you cannot travel abroad? Of course not! If you are planning on going abroad, you have to adopt a few precautionary measures to be absolutely safe.
Here are a few things you must do-
- Wear coronavirus masks if you are going to a country where people have been infected with this virus. These masks can filter the air you are breathing in and thus stop the virus that causes this infection.
- Simply keeping your hands clean can minimize your risk of getting a coronavirus infection. Infected people leave behind viruses on things they touch. And if you touch that, you can be infected. For example, bus handrails, toilet doorknobs, door handles, overhead luggage compartments of aeroplanes are things that hundreds of people touch every day. So if you are using public transport or restroom, or if you are on a plane, please wash your hands with soap and water. Carry hand sanitizer with you always.
- Always wash your hands before you consume a meal.
- Do not touch your face, mouth, nose or eyes with unwashed hands.
- Try to keep your distance from people who are sick.
- Do you have a weak immunity? If so, strengthen it first before you head to foreign shores. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. They contain antioxidants that bolster your defence. Drink lukewarm water with lemon juice daily to strengthen immunity.
- Ask your doctor to administer a flu shot. It may not stop coronavirus but it will definitely reduce the risk of contracting it.
- If you witness symptoms like fever, runny nose, coughing and headache, consult your nearest health expert.