You may have seen that the World Health Organizational (WHO) Emergency Committee declared on Thursday, January 30, 2020 that the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak now meets the criteria for a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.
Those of us who have been in the AISA region for a while will be no stranger to public health concerns. With the advent of the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) it behooves us to be thinking ahead.
According to the WHO Situation Report for January 30, 2020, there are now 7736 confirmed cases and 12,167 suspected cases. To date, the WHO is not reporting cases in Africa. But I think we would do well to assume that with the close links between China and African countries this may change.
The WHO’s standard recommendations for the general public to reduce exposure to and transmission of a range of illnesses are as follows, which include hand and respiratory hygiene, and safe food practices:
- Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water;
- When coughing and sneezing cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue – throw tissue away immediately and wash hands;
- Avoid close contact with anyone who has fever and cough;
- If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing seek medical care early and share previous travel history with your health care provider;
- When visiting live markets in areas currently experiencing cases of novel coronavirus, avoid direct unprotected contact with live animals and surfaces in contact with animals;
- The consumption of raw or undercooked animal products should be avoided. Raw meat, milk or animal organs should be handled with care, to avoid cross-contamination with uncooked foods, as per good food safety practices.
The WHO has some further resources available here
Further to note that registration is now open for the 2020 AISA School Nurse Institute. This will take place on July 21 & 22 at Rosslyn College in Nairobi, Kenya. We will ensure that those attending receive a refresher in dealing with transmissible illnesses such as the Coronavirus.
Dr Peter Bateman