Most countries around the world have put in place coronavirus restrictions, from bans on public gatherings to closing borders, in a bid to curb the pandemic’s spread.
As of Thursday, COVID-19 has killed more than 47,200 people, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The virus has infected 938,000 people worldwide with 194,000 recovering from it.
To be safe, most people are staying indoors. So, how can we be safe while at home?
It is advisable to disinfect surfaces that come into contact with people often. Using Clorox disinfecting wipes and certain Lysol sprays, both approved by the US Environmental Protection Agency, clean surfaces like tables, door handles, keyboards, light switches and remote controls.
Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
Our hands touch many surfaces and pick up viruses. By touching our faces, the hands can then transfer the virus to the eyes, nose or mouth from where the virus can enter the body and cause illness.
Home deliveries, picking up mail
Many people are choosing home deliveries over having to go to the shops. But that is not without its risks. To limit the danger of a delivery worker potentially passing on the infection, ask them to leave the goods on your doorstep. Choose e-payments over cash. If you must meet the delivery worker, keep a two-metre (six-foot) distance.
At home, when possible, disinfect the delivered items with health agency approved disinfectants.
Wash your hands with soap or alcohol sanitizers after picking up your mail.
Avoid having guests. Where this is not possible, maintain social distancing and no shaking hands or hugging.
Following good respiratory hygiene is essential in keeping safe. Cover your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when coughing or sneezing. Dispose of the used tissues immediately, and sanitize your hands.
Consult your doctor, then isolate yourself. Avoid sharing washrooms with others, if possible. Disinfect surfaces that you have touched.
Staying safe outside
When leaving home to get essential goods such as groceries or medicine from pharmacies, it is advised that only one person do this task. This will limit the number of people exposed to potential risks.
When outside, maintain social distancing. Wear a mask and gloves if you have them. In grocery stores, wipe trolley handles before using them.
When you get back home, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and disinfect the purchased goods.
WHO also suggests:
Stay aware of the latest information on the COVID-19 outbreak, available on the WHO website and through your national and local public health authority. Most countries around the world have seen cases of COVID-19 and many are experiencing outbreaks. Authorities in China and some other countries have succeeded in slowing their outbreaks. However, the situation is unpredictable so check regularly for the latest news.
Protecting yourself and others from the spread COVID-19
You can reduce your chances of being infected or spreading COVID-19 by taking some simple precautions:
Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Why? Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.
Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and others. Why? When someone coughs, sneezes, or speaks they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person has the disease.
Avoid going to crowded places. Why? Where people come together in crowds, you are more likely to come into close contact with someone that has COIVD-19 and it is more difficult to maintain physical distance of 1 metre (3 feet).
Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth. Why? Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and infect you.
Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately and wash your hands. Why? Droplets spread virus. By following good respiratory hygiene, you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19.
Stay home and self-isolate even with minor symptoms such as cough, headache, mild fever, until you recover. Have someone bring you supplies. If you need to leave your house, wear a mask to avoid infecting others. Why? Avoiding contact with others will protect them from possible COVID-19 and other viruses.
If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention, but call by telephone in advance if possible and follow the directions of your local health authority. Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on the situation in your area. Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also protect you and help prevent spread of viruses and other infections.
Keep up to date on the latest information from trusted sources, such as WHO or your local and national health authorities. Why? Local and national authorities are best placed to advise on what people in your area should be doing to protect themselves.
Advice on the safe use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers
To protect yourself and others against COVID-19, clean your hands frequently and thoroughly. Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer or wash your hands with soap and water. If you use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, make sure you use and store it carefully.
Keep alcohol-based hand sanitizers out of children’s reach. Teach them how to apply the sanitizer and monitor its use.
Apply a coin-sized amount on your hands. There is no need to use a large amount of the product.
Avoid touching your eyes, mouth and nose immediately after using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, as it can cause irritation.
Hand sanitizers recommended to protect against COVID-19 are alcohol-based and therefore can be flammable. Do not use before handling fire or cooking.
Under no circumstance, drink or let children swallow an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. It can be poisonous.
Remember that washing your hands with soap and water is also effective against COVID-19.
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