CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) 101
With New Zealand now having confirmed cases of Coronavirus and other parts of the world seeing more cases confirmed, health officials are urging people to practise good hygiene to lower their chances of getting sick.
The World Health Organistaion emphasises the importance of listening to credible news sources and not to stigmatise people by race associated with the virus.
At this time most people in the Pacific have very little immediate risk of exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19. However, some people are worried about the disease.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that fear and anxiety can lead to social stigma towards Chinese or other Asian in the region. Stigma and discrimination can occur when people associate an infectious disease, such as COVID-19, with a population or nationality, even though not everyone in that population or from that region is specifically at risk for the disease.
Here's some information on the virus for you and your families to stay informed about how and where the virus is spreading, and some basic how to's for safe practise.
WHAT IS CORONAVIRUS?
In the video above, renowned Canadian physician Dr Peter Lin shares his expertise in regards to the nature and origin of Coronavirus, how it spreads, its various symptoms and dangers and how to protect yourself from contracting it.
Dr Peter Lin explains it is a 'Family of viruses that can cause as mild things as the common cold all the way up to SARS or MERS (bad pneumonias). This new virus has the spikes that allows it to attach to your lungs and when it attaches there, it puts in information to make photo copies of itself. It uses our equipment to make more viruses.'
PRACTISE GOOD HYGIENE
* Wash your hands frequently. It is suggested you count to 20 as you lather up or about as long as it takes to sing the 'Happy Birthday' song.
Wash your hands every time you use the restroom, before you eat and when you get in the door after a long day. When you don't have a sink handy, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
* Don't touch your face - try to keep your hands away from your face eg don't rub your eyes, scratch your nose, rest your chin in your hands.
* Get your flu shot. The symptoms of the seasonal flu and Coronavirus are pretty similar which is why health officials are encouraging people to get the flu shot. This way it helps protect you against the flu and reduces the number of people going to the doctor or hospital for health care.
* Stay home if you're sick. It doesn't necessarily mean you're not working - you can attend meetings remotely or work from home.
* Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects (like your laptop, computer keyboard) or kitchen surfaces, table etc ...
* If you think you've been exposed or infected you may need to 'self-quarantine' like this student did below in order to avoid passing it on to his family. You'll need to stay home and monitor yourself for any potential signs of infection - coughing, fever, chills, muscle aches for 14 days - and report symptoms to your healthcare provider.
Click here for more information and tips on prevention and treatment.
Allow time when you're travelling and also check on the Pacific Islands new restrictions and requirements. Increased border security measures means there will be delays due to extra screening upon arrival in New Zealand and other Pacific Islands.
Kiribati have now completely closed its borders to anyone who has been in a country with confirmed cases of Coronavirus. NZ is now one of those countries.
Samoa now requires medical clearance issued 3 days before arrival by a registered medical practitioner if you've been in Australia, NZ, USA or other countries on their Coronavirus watch list. If you don't have this clearance you will be sent back. Flights to Samoa have also been halved.
To check on Pacific Islands countries travel restrictions and other countries around the world who have changed their entry requirements due to the Coronavirus click here