Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus. The fear and panic created in the world because of it is not necessary. The situation is not as hopeless as some people appear to paint the picture. As a matter of fact, the best way we all can avoid infection and prevent its spread is to get well informed on it, know its symptoms and how the spread can be contained.

According to World Health Organization, WHO, the most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. In some patients, other indications include aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny rose, sore throat or diarrhea. Often, these signs are mild and usually begin gradually. However, in some cases, people who become infected neither develop the symptoms nor feel unwell.

WHO further says that generally, about 80 percent of the people who are infected recover from the disease without needing any special treatment. It is only one in every six persons who becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty in breathing. And people with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention. Also, it is people in older age bracket, say 65 and above, and those with underlying medical problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart problems that are likely to develop serious illness.

How does COVID-19 spread? When an infected person coughs or sneezes, he or she releases small droplets from the mouth or nose. So people who breathe in these droplets can catch COVID-19. Besides, when droplets from an infected person land on objects and surfaces around the person, other people who touch these objects or surfaces, and from there touch their eyes, nose, or mouth, can also catch COVID-19. This is why it is advisable to stay more than one metre (3 feet) away from a person who is sick, particularly a person who is coughing or sneezing.

According to Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, the virus that causes COVID-19 is mainly transmitted from person to person - between people who are in close contact with one another, and with respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs and sneezes rather than through the air. Therefore, the spread is through direct contact with an infected person and indirect contact with contaminated surface in the immediate environment or with objects used on an infected person.

World Health Organization Preventive Measures that will keep you safe from COVID-19.

(i) Wash your hands frequently with soap and water because your hands touch many surfaces. This helps kill viruses that may be on your hands.

(ii) Maintain social distancing, at least 1 metre (3 feet) from anybody coughing or sneezing.

(iii) Cover your mouth and nose with tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Dispose of used tissue immediately because droplets spread virus. This precaution protects people around from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19. Encourage others to do same.

(iv) Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth because 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.

(v) If you feel unwell, stay home. If you experience fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical help immediately.

(vi) Keep abreast of the latest updates on COVID-19 hotspots (cities or local areas where COVID-19 is spreading fast and widely).

(vii) If possible, avoid traveling to places, particularly if you are an older person or have diabetes, heart or lung disease.

(viii) Greet safe, that is with a wave, a nod, or a bow. Avoiding physical handshake or hugging of people.

(ix) Be your neighbours’ keeper to share COVID-19 information with them. A neighbour that is free from COVID-19 is a health safety to you.

(x) If you wear a face mask, make sure you cover mouth and nose, and avoid touching it once it’s on.

COVID-19 can be contained. China where COVID-19 started has been able to contain it. A representative of WHO in the country, Dr. Gauden Galea, has said that the decline of the disease in China has demonstrated that the course of the outbreak there has been altered. In his words, “It is an epidemic that has been nipped as it was growing and stopped in its tracks. This is very clear from the data that we have, as well as the observations that we can see in society in general...So that's a big lesson: that the natural course of the outbreak does not need to be a very high peak that overwhelms health services. This lesson in containment, therefore, is a lesson that other countries can learn from and adapt for their own circumstances”.

Nations and communities that implement WHO recommendations on containment -widespread testing, quarantine of cases, contact tracing, and social distancing – are making progress in containing the pandemic.

Meanwhile COVID-19 Records 82 % Recovery and 18 % Death Rates Globally: This gives great hope to the world that the siege will certainly cease. It would have really been very worrisome if the reverse was the case.

As of March 30, 2020, global statistics of COVID-19 shows that about a total of 724,436 cases have been reported in over 190 countries and territories. Of that number, there have been more than 152,065 (82%) recoveries and about 34,009 (18%) deaths. With far more recoveries than deaths, there is no need to panic. There is great hope ahead.

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