Dr. Osagie Ehanire, Minister for Health and Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora, Minister of State for Health, at a Media Briefing on Coronavirus Outbreak February 28 Photo: Channels TV

Basic measures to protect yourself against Coronavirus, by WHO, FG

* 28 Persons identified, quarantined over contacts with Italian ─Governor

* 6 More ways to deal with Coronavirus ─Nigerian Government

* WHO addresses some myths about Covid-19

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

As Nigeria confirmed its first case of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) disease in the wee hours of Friday, February 28, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, Honourable Minister for Health, has revealed that the case involves an Italian citizen.

The Italian, who works in Nigeria, had returned to Lagos from Milan, Italy, February 25, 2020.

Prince Dapo Abiodun, Ogun State Governor, at a media briefing on the recent development of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the state, also disclosed that 28 more persons had been identified and quarantined aside from the affected Italian.

According to Governor Abiodun, at least 28 persons were identified and quarantined, having come in contact with the Italian as Nigeria’s first Coronavirus patient.

Therefore, as the citizenry’s anxiety and fears of possible spread of the disease sequel to the lone case grow across the economy, and the country battles to contain the dreaded disease which has claimed thousands of lives globally, here are some basic protective measures the World Health Organisation (WHO) has recommended to protect yourself against Covid-19.

Wash your hands frequently

Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.

Why? Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.

Hand washing with soap

Maintain social distancing

Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.

Why? When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain the virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.

Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth

Why? Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.

Practice respiratory hygiene

Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.

Why? Droplets spread the virus. By following good respiratory hygiene you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19.

If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early

Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.

Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on the situation in your area. Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also protect you and help prevent the spread of viruses and other infections.

Stay informed; follow the advice by your healthcare provider

Stay informed on the latest developments about COVID-19.  Follow the advice given by your healthcare provider, your national and local public health authority or your employer on how to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.

Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on whether COVID-19 is spreading in your area.

They are best placed to advise on what people in your area should be doing to protect themselves.

6 more ways to deal with Coronavirus, by Nigerian Government

Air travellers are being screened and checked at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, FCT.

Since the first confirmed case of Coronavirus in Lagos, Nigeria, Thursday, tensions have heightened on how to stay safe among the populace.

However, ConsumerConnect gathered that the Federal Government is positive that Nigerians can outsmart the virus by taking the six following steps:

  1. Sanitisation: Nigerians should regularly and thoroughly wash their hands with soap and water, and use alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
  2. Courtesy in case of cough or sneezing: Maintain at least 1 & half metres (5 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing. Persons with persistent cough or sneezing are also advised should stay home or keep a social distance, but not mix in crowd.
  3. Good respiratory hygiene: Ensure that you and people around you follow good respiratory hygiene, meaning cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or into your sleeve at the bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then, dispose of the used tissue immediately.
  4. No self-medication: Stay home if you feel unwell with symptoms like fever, cough and difficulty in breathing. Please call the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) toll free number, which is available 24/7 for guidance: 0800-970000-10. Do not engage in self-medication.
  5. Up-to-date: Stay informed on the latest developments about COVID-19 through official channels on TV and Radio, including the Lagos State Ministry of Health, NCDC and Federal Ministry of Health.
  6. Don’t abuse Social Media: Citizens are advised not to abuse Social Media and indulge in spreading misinformation that causes fear and panic.

Get and use protective face masks, hand sanitisers, latex gloves, and other personal hygiene products, especially in public places.

WHO explains some myths about Coronavirus

In addition to the protective measures enumerated earlier, WHO has also addressed some myths about the disease. Here they are as written by the UN agency:

Are hand dryers effective in killing the new coronavirus?

No. Hand dryers are not effective in killing 2019-nCoV. To protect yourself against the new Coronavirus, you should frequently clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.

Once your hands are cleaned, you should dry them thoroughly by using paper towels or a warm air dryer.

Can an ultraviolet disinfection lamp kill the new Coronavirus?

UV lamps should not be used to sterilise hands or other areas of skin as UV radiation can cause skin irritation.

How effective are thermal scanners in detecting people infected with the new coronavirus?

Thermal scanners are effective in detecting people who have developed a fever (i.e. have a higher than normal body temperature) because of infection with the new Coronavirus.

However, they cannot detect people who are infected but are not yet sick with fever. This is because it takes between 2 and 10 days before people who are infected become sick and develop a fever.

Can spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body kill the new coronavirus?

No. Spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body will not kill viruses that have already entered your body.

Spraying such substances can be harmful to clothes or mucous membranes (i.e. eyes, mouth).

Be aware that both alcohol and chlorine can be useful to disinfect surfaces, but they need to be used under appropriate recommendations.

Is it safe to receive a letter or a package from China?

Yes, it is safe. People receiving packages from China are not at risk of contracting the new Coronavirus.

From previous analysis, we know coronaviruses do not survive long on objects, such as letters or packages.

Can pets at home spread the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV)?

At present, there is no evidence that companion animals/pets, such as dogs or cats can be infected with the new Coronavirus.

However, it is always a good idea to wash your hands with soap and water after contact with pets.

This protects you against various common bacteria such as E.coli and Salmonella that can pass between pets and humans.

Do vaccines against pneumonia protect you against the new coronavirus?

No. Vaccines against pneumonia, such as pneumococcal vaccine and Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) vaccine, do not provide protection against the new Coronavirus.

The virus is so new and different that it needs its own vaccine. Researchers are trying to develop a vaccine against 2019-nCoV, and WHO is supporting their efforts.

Although these vaccines are not effective against 2019-nCoV, vaccination against respiratory illnesses is highly recommended to protect your health.

Can regularly rinsing your nose with saline help prevent infection with the new coronavirus?

No. There is no evidence that regularly rinsing the nose with saline has protected people from infection with the new coronavirus.

There is some limited evidence that regularly rinsing nose with saline can help people recover more quickly from the common cold. However, regularly rinsing the nose has not been shown to prevent respiratory infections.

Can eating garlic help to prevent infection with the new Coronavirus?

Garlic is a healthy food that may have some antimicrobial properties. However, there is no evidence from the current outbreak that eating garlic has protected people from the new Coronavirus.

Does putting on sesame oil block the new Coronavirus from entering the body?

No. Sesame oil does not kill the new coronavirus. There are some chemical disinfectants that can kill the 2019-nCoV on surfaces.

These include bleach/chlorine-based disinfectants, either solvents, 75% ethanol, peracetic acid or chloroform.

However, they have little or no impact on the virus if you put them on the skin or under your nose. It can even be dangerous to put these chemicals on your skin.

Does the new Coronavirus affect older people, or are younger people also susceptible?

People of all ages can be infected by the new Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Older people and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease) appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus.

WHO advises people of all ages to take steps to protect themselves from the virus, for example by following good hand hygiene and good respiratory hygiene.

Are antibiotics effective in preventing and treating the new coronavirus?

No, antibiotics do not work against viruses, only bacteria.

The new coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a virus and, therefore, antibiotics should not be used as a means of prevention or treatment.

However, if you are hospitalised for the 2019-nCoV, you may receive antibiotics because bacterial co-infection is possible.

Are there any specific medicines to prevent or treat the new coronavirus?

To date, there is no specific medicine recommended to prevent or treat the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

However, those infected with the virus should receive appropriate care to relieve and treat symptoms, and those with severe illness should receive optimised supportive care. Some specific treatments are under investigation and will be tested through clinical trials.

WHO is reportedly assisting to accelerate research and development efforts with a range of partners across the world.

Additional reports by Alexander Davis and Gbenga Kayode

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