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  • Nepalese kid washing his hands

    Nepalese kid washing his hands | Photo: Xinhua

Published 28 February 2020 (10 hours 5 minutes ago)
Opinion

The first of the ten measures is to clean hands regularly with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Touching the face after touching contaminated surfaces or sick people is one of the ways the virus can be transmitted. By cleaning the hands, one can reduce the risk.

The World Health Organization (WHO) outlined ten necessary personal prevention measures against COVID-19, including cleaning hands and surfaces regularly and avoiding traveling when having a fever or cough.

"Your risk depends on where you live, your age, and general health. WHO can provide general guidance. You should also follow your national guidance and consult local health professionals," said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at a daily briefing.

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The first of the ten measures is to clean hands regularly with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Touching the face after touching contaminated surfaces or sick people is one of the ways the virus can be transmitted. By cleaning the hands, one can reduce the risk.

Second, clean surfaces regularly with disinfectant, for example, kitchen benches and work desks.

Third, educate oneself about COVID-19, but make sure the information comes from reliable sources such as local or national public health agencies, the WHO website, or local health professionals. The symptoms, for most people, start with a fever and a dry cough instead of a runny nose. Most people will have mild disease and get better without needing any special care.

People wear masks as they walk in Milan, Italy, on Feb. 24, 2020. (Photo by Daniele Mascolo/Xinhua)

Fourth, avoid traveling when having a fever or cough, and when becoming sick while on a flight, inform the crew immediately. Once home, make contact with a health professional.

Fifth, cough or sneeze into sleeves or use a tissue which should be disposed of immediately into a closed rubbish bin, and then clean hands.

Sixth, those who are over 60 years old or have an underlying condition like cardiovascular disease, a respiratory condition, or diabetes, the risk of developing severe disease could be higher. Take extra precautions to avoid crowded areas or places where interaction with people who are sick is possible.

Seventh, everyone who feels unwell should stay at home and call doctors or local health professionals who will ask about the symptoms, where one has been, and who one has had contact with. This will help to make sure that one gets the right advice, is directed to the right health facility, and will prevent from infecting others.

Eighth, stay at home when being sick, and eat and sleep separately from family members, use different utensils, and cutlery to eat.

Ninth, if shortness of breath appears, call doctors and seek care immediately.

And tenth, it's reasonable and understandable to feel anxious, especially when living in a country or community that has been affected. Find out what can be done in the community. Discuss how to stay safe with the workplace, school, or place of worship.

"Containment starts with you. Our greatest enemy right now is not the virus itself. It's fear, rumors, and stigma. And our greatest assets are facts, reason, and solidarity," said Tedros.

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