The first case of coronavirus in South Africa has been confirmed. A 38-year-old man has tested positive for the (COVID-19) virus in KwaZulu-Natal. The man recently travelled to Italy and has been in self-isolation since. The World Health Organization has released guidelines on how people can protect themselves from the virus.
The Department of Health says the Emergency Operations Centre will be running 24-hours. It also has information on precautionary measures on the outbreak.
Wash your hands
Washing your hands frequently with soap and water – or a hand sanitiser gel as an alternative – will remove viruses and bacteria from your hands. The best thing people can do is make sure they can wash their hands for 20 seconds or more… with soap and hot water,” Health Secretary Matt Hancock says.
He recommends telling children to wash their hands for as long as it takes to sing Happy Birthday.
Don’t cough or sneeze into your hands
If you have a virus and you sneeze or cough into your hands, the droplets in your sneeze or cough then contaminate your hands, and you will then contaminate objects or people that you touch.
Keep your distance
Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell.
The WHO recommends maintaining at least one metre (three feet) between yourself and other people, particularly those who are coughing, sneezing and have a fever.
If you are too close, you can breathe in the virus if an infected person coughs or sneezes.
Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
Your hands may touch many surfaces which can be contaminated with the virus.
If you touch your eyes, nose or mouth with your contaminated hands, you can transfer the virus from the surface to yourself.
Stay home if you feel unwell
If you experience any symptoms such as a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. The WHO advises to follow the directions of your local health authority.
Take care of animals or animal products when visiting markets
The WHO recommends regular hand washing with soap and water after touching animals and animal products when visiting markets, as well as to avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth with your hands.
They also say to avoid contact with sick animals or spoiled animal products and to avoid contact with potentially contaminated animal waste or fluids.
Avoiding consumption of raw or undercooked animal products is also recommended, as well as following good food safety practices.
However, at present, there is no evidence that pets such as dogs or cats can be infected with coronavirus.
Nevertheless, it is always a good idea to wash your hands with soap and water after contact with pets to protect against common bacteria.
What are the symptoms of coronavirus?
The disease caused by coronavirus has now been named COVID-19.
Its main symptoms are:
A high temperature
Shortness of breath
There is not yet a specific treatment for COVID-19, although scientists are working on a vaccine.
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