How to protect against Wuhan coronavirus

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(CNA photo)

What is COVID-19?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the coronavirus disease that originated in Wuhan, China, is caused by a new strain of coronavirus that was discovered in 2019 and has not been previously identified in humans. The virus is now called severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), and the disease it causes is called COVID-19.

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).

Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, coughing, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.

Most patients will recover, but some with a history of diseases, such as diabetes, chronic liver and kidney diseases and cardiovascular disease, may die, according to information from China‘s public health departments.

The WHO declared COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic on March 11.

How to protect oneself from COVID-19

The WHO Recommends:

*Standard recommendations to prevent the spread of the infection include washing hands regularly, covering one’s mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, and thoroughly cooking meat and eggs. Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.

Taiwan's Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Recommends:

*Wash your hands thoroughly with soap
*Wear surgical masks when coughing or sneezing
*Avoid crowded places, including hospitals
*Avoid unnecessary overseas travel

Attention: Wearing a surgical mask is a must when:

Visiting medical treatment facilities; presenting symptoms of fever or respiratory problems; having chronic diseases; or being in a confined space where contact with people is unavoidable, such as in an airplane.

Washing hands or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer is often more important than wearing masks because the new coronavirus can survive on the surface of objects for as long as five days during droplet transmission, meaning that keeping one’s hands clean is a must.