There is growing concern that the new coronavirus may be going undetected in Indonesia, where officials have not confirmed a single case of infection among the 272 million-strong population despite the country’s close links to China.
As of January 30 2020, Indonesia said it had no confirmed cases of the coronavirus and that 238 Indonesians have been evacuated from Wuhan (the centre of the outbreak). They had shown no symptoms of the virus, therefore hadn’t been tested.
It is natural to be frightful of the unknown, so here are some facts minus the misinformation on media channels that are misleading.
Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.
Facts on Coronaviruses:
- Zoonotic – transmitted between animals and people
- Make humans and animals sick.
- Originated in Hubei Province, China
- Called ‘novel’ because it is new. It had not been detected before this outbreak.
- Common signs of infection include
- respiratory symptoms
- shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.
- In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.
How is this coronavirus spread?
The coronavirus is most likely to spread from person-to-person through:
- direct close contact with a person while they are infectious;
- close contact with a person with a confirmed infection coughs or sneezes; or
- touching objects or surfaces (such as door knobs or tables) contaminated from a cough or sneeze from a person with a confirmed infection, and then touching your mouth or face.
Who is most at risk of a serious illness?
Some people who are infected may not get sick at all, some will get mild symptoms from which they will recover easily, and others may become very ill, very quickly.
From previous experience with other coronaviruses, the people at most risk of serious infection are:
- People with compromised immune systems, such as people with cancer
- Elderly people
- Very young children and babies, and
- People with diagnosed chronic medical conditions.
Recommendations and Advice
During previous outbreaks due to other coronaviruses, (Middle-East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), human-to-human transmission occurred through droplets, contact and fomites, suggesting that the transmission mode of the 2019-nCoV can be similar. The basic principles to reduce the general risk of transmission of acute respiratory infections include the following:
- Avoiding close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections.
- Frequent hand-washing, especially after direct contact with ill people or their environment.
- Avoiding unprotected contact with farm or wild animals.
- People with symptoms of acute respiratory infection should practice cough etiquette (maintain distance, cover coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or clothing, and wash hands).
- Within healthcare facilities, enhance standard infection prevention and control practices in hospitals, especially in emergency departments.
In view of this, we are also taking precautionary measures to safeguard the well-being of our patients and employees.
Patients who are feeling unwell with flu or fever are advised to reschedule their upcoming appointments until they are cleared by a GP.
PhysioActive will be supplying hand sanitizer around the clinic for patients to use.
If you’ve been travelling, monitor your health closely for 14 days upon return and seek medical attention promptly if you feel unwell. You should inform your doctor of your travel history.
If you have a fever or respiratory symptoms (e.g. cough, shortness of breath), you should wear a mask and call your GP ahead of the visit.