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Posted On: 4 March 2020 04:10 pm
Updated On: 12 November 2020 09:10 am

Here's how to protect yourself from the Coronavirus disease!

Khadiza Begum
Khadiza Begum
Content Writer
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The Coronavirus disease is a respiratory illness affecting people in China and several other countries around the world. Recently, a number of cases of the Coronavirus disease 2019 (officially named as “COVID-19”) have been reported in Qatar. It is important that you are fully aware of what the virus is, the signs and symptoms, and what action to take to protect yourself from this much-talked-about communicable disease.

Frequently Asked Questions​​​ on Coronavirus disease

The Ministry of Public Health has answered some Frequently Asked Questions on their website. Scroll below to know more about them.

1. What are the signs and symptoms of Coronavirus disease 2019?​

Common signs of the coronavirus infection include fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. As the virus becomes more severe, the infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and even death.

2. How does the virus spread? ​

It is believed that the virus emerged from an animal source but is now spreading from person-to-person. This is believed to have happened mainly via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how influenza and other respiratory pathogens spread.

3. Is there a vaccine for the Coronavirus disease 2019?

No. There is currently no vaccine available to protect against the Coronavirus disease 2019.

4. Are residents of Qatar at increased risk?

The risk for residents of Qatar is considered low unless they have recently travelled to the affected countries or were in close contact with people who have the virus.

Basic protective measures against the coronavirus

Coronavirus is still affecting mostly people in China and with some outbreaks in other countries. Most people who become infected experience mild illness and recover, but it can be more severe for others. Take care of your health and protect others by doing the following:

1. Wash your hands: According to Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, washing your hands correctly is one of the best ways to stop yourself and those around you from becoming sick. The organization recommends you wash your hands at frequent intervals to stay healthy and follow FIVE steps to wash your hands the right way. The steps are given below:

- Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
- Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
- Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
- Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
- Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

    2. Covering mouth: Cover your nose and mouth with a clean napkin and make sure to throw the used napkin in the trash immediately.

    3. Don't touch your face: Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

    4. Maintain social distancing: Avoid approaching people who have symptoms of respiratory illnesses, such as coughing or sneezing.

    5. Disinfect: Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces, such as mobile, laptop, etc.

      6. Practice food safety: Make sure to cook your food thoroughly especially meat and egg and avoid raw food. Use different chopping boards and knives for raw meat and cooked food. Also, wash your hand between handling raw meat and cooked food. Sick animals and animals that have died of diseased should not be eaten.

      7. Change greeting habits

      Keep away from traditional greetings like the handshake, hug, the high-five, and the cheek-kiss to reduce the risk of contracting the coronavirus and prevent it from spreading. Remember coronavirus spreads through tiny water droplets expelled when an infected person coughs, sneezes or exhales.

      8. Avoid animal contact:

      If you are planning to visit any live animal markets, always be mindful of practicing general hygiene measures, including regular handwashing with soap and potable water after touching animals and animal products, avoiding touching eyes, nose or mouth with hands, and avoiding contact with sick animals or spoiled animal products. Attention should also be taken to avoid contact with potentially contaminated animal waste or fluids on the soil or structures of shops and market facilities. Any contact with other animals (e.g., stray cats and dogs, birds) should be strictly avoided.

      9. Avoid traveling:
      An increasing number of travel advisories have been issued by countries around the world, urging caution for select destinations, and discouraging travel to others. So better you put off your travel plan for the time being to stay safe.

      Should you use a mask?

      If you are healthy, you only need to wear a mask if you are taking care of a person with the suspected 2019-nCoV infection. Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing. Masks are effective only when used in combination with frequent hand-cleaning with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water. If you wear a mask, then you must know how to use it and dispose of it properly. World Health Organization (WHO) describes how to put on, use, take off and dispose of a mask. Read them below:

      • Before putting on a mask, clean hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
      • Cover mouth and nose with mask and make sure there are no gaps between your face and the mask.
      • Avoid touching the mask while using it; if you do, clean your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
      • Replace the mask with a new one as soon as it is damp and do not re-use single-use masks.
      • To remove the mask: remove it from behind (do not touch the front of mask); discard immediately in a closed bin; clean hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.

      What should you do if you experience the symptoms?

      While the risk for infection remains low, however, if you experience fever, cough, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing, and has traveled to any affected countries, or had contact with an infected person, in the last 14 days, you should go to your nearest primary health center immediately, or call MOPH hotline: ​​16000. You can also call the MoPH hotline on 6674 0948 or 6674 0951.