The recent outbreak of a newly identified Coronavirus is worrying the authorities in Pakistan but by knowing the symptoms and precautions you can protect yourself from getting this viral disease.
The World Health Organization definition for Coronavirus is that “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), Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV) and novel Coronavirus (nCoV)”
This new virus was named 2019-nCoV which was identified by Chinese authorities after the spread in Wuhan city with the potential to spread from human to human.
It is believed that the virus spread from animals to human in a Wuhan sea food market which also sold wild animals as food.
The common symptoms & signs of Coronavirus are similar to many other respiratory infections such as:
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulty in breathing
For severe cases the symptom may include:
- Severe acute respiratory syndrome
- Kidney failure
In these severe cases there is a risk that the patient may die, currently the official death toll from the virus is 80 while almost 3000 cases have been confirmed mostly in China.
The virus has already spread to countries including Thailand, United States, Australia, France, Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea, Japan, Macau, Vietnam, Malaysia and Nepal.
To protect yourself from being affected by this deadly disease citizens can take numerous precautions:
- Using facemask
- Washing your hands regularly with soap or alcohol-based sanitizer for at least 10 seconds
- Avoiding contacts with people of high risk such as those Chinese citizens who have recently travelled from China or those who are in contact with such people.
- Using tissue or your hands while coughing or sneezing to stop spreading the germs.
Pakistani citizens who are involved in China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects are at higher risk due to their interactions with Chinese citizens. As these projects include thousands of Chinese nationals who visit their home country regularly.
Currently many such Chinese nationals are in their home country for celebrations of Chinese New Year who will start returning to Pakistan from 8th February increasing the risk in Pakistan.
Many Pakistani traders also visit China regularly who are also among potential sources of spreading the virus in Pakistan after their return.
Currently there are no confirmed cases of Coronavirus in Pakistan, previously there were 2 unconfirmed reports from Multan & three from Lahore but Dr. Zafar Mirza Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health refuted those.
There is no facility in Pakistani laboratories to diagnose & identify the virus.
Which means each sample from suspected patients should be sent to other countries such as China for confirmation, which can delay the containment process.
Dr. Zafar Mirza said that few individuals were isolated after their return from China due to flu like conditions but they are recovering and are not cases of Novel Corona Virus. He further said that Emergency Operation Cell in Federal Health Ministry have been established to monitor the situation and stop the spread of the virus in Pakistan.