The coronavirus has been declared a public health emergency, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). The virus causes pneumonia and those who have fallen ill are reported to suffer coughs, fever and breathing difficulties. In severe cases, there has been reported organ failure. China’s national health commission has confirmed human-to-human transmission and there has been transmission elsewhere. With the rise of this virus what can one do if they suspect they may be at risk of the coronavirus?
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Dr Dawn Harper said: “The coronavirus has really frightened people but actually I think the authorities have really got on to this very early.
“Anybody who thinks they may have been in contact with the virus, certainly anyone coming in from Wuhan and those districts in China, the advice is to please don’t go to your GP. We really need to contain this.”
When asked what is the main advice one should remember with this virus spread, Dr Dawn answered: “So the advice is if you think you could be at risk then please contact 111 and what will happen is that we will arrange to take swab tests from you to check you and we would ask you to please keep any contact with another person to an absolute minimum.
“So if you can get other people to do your shopping and leave it at the door or post of whatever you need in the way of paracetamols through the letterbox.”
Are there any treatments?
As this is viral pneumonia, antibiotics are of no use, and the antiviral drugs available to fight flu will not work.
If people are admitted to hospital, they may get support for their lungs and other organs as well as fluids.
Recovery will depend on the strength of one’s immune system. Many of those who have died from the virus were already in poor health.
Should we be worried about coronavirus?
Health experts are beginning to say it could become a pandemic, however, right now it falls short of what the WHO would consider to be one.
A pandemic, in WHO terms, is “The worldwide spread of a disease”.
Coronavirus cases have been confirmed in about 25 countries outside China.
The WHO has declared the outbreak to be a public health emergency of international concern, and says there is a “window of opportunity” to halt the spread of disease.
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Dr Dawn advises any with potential symptoms not to leave the house.
She warned: “It’s a huge inconvenience and we hope that most people will just have a flu like illness and not the coronavirus at all. But by isolating people like that and venting contact with others we can really contain the spread.”
Symptoms of coronavirus
The main symptoms of coronavirus are:
- A cough
- A high temperature
- Shortness of breath
The NHS advises to call 111 now if you’ve been:
- To Wuhan or Hubei Province in China in the last 14 days (even if you do not have symptoms)
- To other parts of China, including Macau and Hong Kong, in the last 14 days and have a cough, high temperature or shortness of breath (even if it’s mild)
- To Thailand, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Republic of Korea or Malaysia in the last 14 days and have a cough, high temperature or shortness of breath (even if it’s mild)
- In close contact with someone with confirmed coronavirus
- You should not go to a GP surgery or hospital, Call 111, stay indoors and avoid close contact with other people
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