The coronavirus detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan in early December 2019 has infected more than 17,300 people worldwide and continues to spread to more countries.
At least 361 people have died so far in China, and one in the Philippines. Botswana is the first African country to have reported a suspected case of coronavirus.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has listed Nigeria among 13 African countries identified as high-risk for the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
How is the coronavirus spreading?
The coronavirus spreads from person to person in close proximity, similar to other respiratory illnesses, such as the flu.
Droplets of bodily fluids - such as saliva or mucus - from an infected person are dispersed in the air or on surfaces by coughing or sneezing.
These droplets can come into direct contact with other people or can infect those who pick them up by touching infected surfaces and then their face.
According to scientists, coughs and sneezes can travel several feet and stay suspended in the air for up to 10 minutes.
Symptoms of the disease
The disease causes mild to severe respiratory symptoms like cough and breathing difficulties.
The symptoms range from more minor ailments — like a sore throat, fatigue, coughing, and a runny nose — to more serious symptoms like difficulty breathing.
Those with severe breathing problems concern doctors the most, as early analysis suggests the virus is more likely to be fatal in people exhibiting serious breathlessness.
There is no specific treatment for the disease but many of the symptoms could be treated. However, this is based on the patient’s clinical condition.
How Nigerians can protect themselves against Coronavirus
1. Keep your hands as clean as possible through washing with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
2. Avoid close contact with anyone coughing, sneezing or showing symptoms of respiratory illness.
3. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
4. Ensure to cook meat and animal products like eggs, milk, thoroughly before consumption. Scientists are claiming that animals are the primary host of the coronavirus.
5. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is sick.
6. Avoid eating sick animals or those that died from diseases or unknown causes.
7. Avoid direct contact with live animals in affected areas.
8. Cover over your mouth and nose with elbow or tissue when coughing and sneezing – ensure to throw tissue away immediately and wash hands.
9. If you have a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, do not self medicate, seek medical care early and share previous travel history with your healthcare provider.
10. Anyone with underlying medical conditions should avoid live animal markets and raw meats.
11. People travelling back from China are also advised to self-quarantine for at least two weeks.
12. Health workers must observe standard infection prevention and control measures.
13. Face masks offer some protection as they block liquid droplets. However, they do not block smaller aerosol particles that can pass through the material of the mask.
Meanwhile, Legit.ng had reported that the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) on Wednesday, January 22, issued a travel advisory following the break out of a deadly virus called coronavirus in China.
The statement made available to Legit.ng called on passengers in the country and other airport users to comply with all quarantine procedures.
The federal agency added that the move is to protect passengers from the epidemic ravaging some countries, as well as to prevent the spread of such communicable diseases into Nigeria.
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Yakubu assured that the Federal Ministry of Health has confirmed that facilities at the country's airports are adequate to prevent importation of the virus.
She added that all the equipment and personnel used in combating the deadly Ebola virus in 2014 are still very much in place.
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