UPDATE (24 February): As of yesterday, the numbers of confirmed coronavirus (now officially known as COVID-19) cases have been 78,804 confirmed cases; with 23,092 recovered, and 2,463 deaths. There have only been 22 cases in Malaysia. With hundreds of platforms providing coverage to the disease, it can be difficult to keep up with, the most reliable source to fall back on is the World Health Organisation (WHO).
According to the WHO, 81% develop mild symptoms, 14% develop severe symptoms, while 5% are critically ill. As hundreds of cases are being reported with each passing day, the WHO provided safety measures to take to lessen the chance of being infected:
- Use soap or hand gel to wash your hands, it can
- Use a tissue to cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing
- Wash your hands afterwards to prevent the virus spreading
- Keep at least THREE feet away from anyone who is coughing, sneezing, or with a fever as the virus is airborne
Various entertainment events have been postponed as a precaution to keep the public from being potentially exposed to the virus which has caused many to change their travel plans. France’s Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said there’s been a 30-40% fall in tourists, as reported by CNBC, and with the abrupt drop, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) predicted that the airline industry will make a loss of USD29.3 billion in revenue this year.
If you are planning on traveling to any of the high-risk countries, be sure to take extra measures to keep your health in check. Remember to seek medical assistance if you feel any of the symptoms (nose, cough, sore throat, headaches, fever). Bernard Camins, medical director for infection prevention at the Mount Sinai Health System said, “The golden rule for travel right now should be this: If you’re the one who is sick, stay home, do not travel, wear a mask, even for the flu.”
UPDATE (31 January): The World Health Organisation officially declared the Novel Coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency of international concern.
If you’re going to be away during Chinese New Year, be sure to add N95 masks to your packing list. With the recent Influenza A outbreak in Malaysia, and the Wuhan virus that’s spread across China, South Korea, Thailand, and even to the US, it’s better to be safe than sick.
The Wuhan virus is spread from humans-to-humans, and is being compared to the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) epidemic that happened in 2002 and 2003. The aforementioned virus was recently classified as a coronavirus; its symptoms include a runny nose, cough, sore throat, and sometimes headaches and a fever, that typically lasts for two days or more.
At the time of writing, there are currently 440 confirmed cases in China alone, and a death toll of 9, according to SCMP and China Press. While the number of patients is increasing at an alarming rate, it’s still not confirmed at this time of writing whether the World Health Organisation (WHO) has decided if the outbreak is a “public health emergency of international concern” as it was used for the Ebola and Zika viruses. An emergency meeting is being held today in Geneva to discuss this matter.
A list of must-have medications which will probably save you from more than one sticky situation when travelling:
There will be plenty of people travelling to and from China in the coming weeks because of Chinese New Year. In a report by the Business Insider, it says that close to 3 billion trips will be made from 10 January to 18 February. Taking into consideration that this virus is spread from people-to-people, and there are no known vaccine or cure for the virus as of yet, it is advised for everyone to wear an N95 mask whenever you’re out, and if you can afford to stay indoors, that would be even better.
Stay safe everyone! And if you’re feeling a little ill, do yourself and the people around you a favour, and seek a doctor immediately.