Coronavirus: Prepare not panic 0 222

The corona virus is a raging topic both on social media and in public gatherings. If you chat with five different friends, you’ll see a range of responses—some are already ordering face masks and stocking up on water, others think maybe they won’t go to Italy this summer, and still others haven’t heard anything about the virus. While most of us aren’t experts on the matter of the virus most of the panic is caused by the self-proclaimed “doctors” and so-called “coronavirus experts” who pass on WhatsApp forwards and other half-baked “facts”.

According to California’s Department of Public Health, “while COVID-19 has a high transmission rate, it has a low mortality rate. The international data we have, of those who have tested positive for COVID-19, approximately 80% do not exhibit symptoms that would require hospitalization.”

In other words, there’s no need to panic. It helps to look at coronavirus in the context of other illnesses to get some perspective. The coronavirus currently has a death rate of 2% worldwide, far below the 9% to 12% death rate of the 2002 SARS

Coronavirus: its psychological ramifications

Despite the information we do hear, part of the trouble is that not all of us are great at assessing risk. According to experts, how risk is conveyed determines how it’s interpreted. And, as people we often use our emotions, not logical analysis to evaluate risks therefore making any situation especially the one we don’t know much about look and feel scarier and more dangerous than it actually is. Catastrophizing is an example of an unhealthy thinking pattern which may make contamination seem more likely than it actually is. Therefore, at times like its better to stay out of conversations regarding the virus with anyone but the doctors.

Coronavirus: how to minimize risk

  1.   Wash your hands: Using soap and water, lather up for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that has at least 60% alcohol. This is especially important after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  2.   Cover your cough or sneeze: Use a tissue that you can throw away. And, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth since the virus is transmitted through the respiratory system.
  3.   Stay home if you’re sick: Chances are you don’t have the virus, but officials advise staying home if you don’t feel well. And, if you suspect you may have coronavirus, call your healthcare provider.
  4.   Keep surfaces clean: Use a disinfecting cleaning spray or wipes on high-touch surfaces like light switches, doorknobs, your phone, and remote controls.
  5.   Stay away from sick people: One thing we know about the virus is that it is very contagious.
  6.   Don’t buy a facemask, yet: If you’re not sick, not a healthcare worker, and not caring for someone who has the virus, there is no need to wear a facemask. Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease.

 Coronavirus: in Sri Lanka:

Sri Lanka confirmed its first case of coronavirus on January 27. The patient was identified as a 43-year-old Chinese woman from Hubei province who had arrived in Sri Lanka as a tourist. She was immediately admitted to the Infectious Diseases Hospital (IDH)and was under strict medical supervision. She left the island on the 19th of February, fully recovered. While many other patients have been suspected and tested in the IDH they have all been false alarms.

Coronavirus: Countermeasures

All the preventive measures are in place at all tourist arrival and departure points in airports.

According to a the Tourist Board of Sri Lanka: “We are monitoring the Corona Virus situation closely, and have taken concrete measures to strengthen the detection and management at all arrival and departure points. Steps are already taken to create awareness on the outbreak among tourism industry stakeholders and accordingly, the Tourism and Health Ministries are working closely to combat the spread of the Corona virus within all tourist hotspots of the country. The government is vigilant to ensure that the safety of all citizens and tourists alike are looked after during this time.”

“Meanwhile, measures have been put in place to ensure carriers of the Corona Virus cannot enter the country via Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) and 24 hour monitoring is conducted by BIA staff including body temperature screening machines to detect the virus with the assistance of the Health and Indigenous Medicine Services Ministry and Sri Lanka Army medical teams. Furthermore, a prohibition has  been put in place for visitors from accompanying passengers inside the Airport until further notice.”

Coronavirus: Why Sri Lanka is the place to be.

A good way to figure this out is to compare trends and numbers. Let’s be honest, Nowhere is 100% safe. Looking closely Sri Lanka is one of the only countries that doesn’t have a single coronavirus patient in the island. We even managed to cure the only patient (a chinese national) and send her back to her own country. 

According to infectious disease experts the factors that causes the other viruses to retreat during the summer months could affect the coronavirus in a similar way. Also according to experts there’s a variety of reasons that influenza and cold infections plummet in the summer, but a major one is that warm, humid weather can make it harder for respiratory droplets to spread virus due to rapid virus degradation..

In conclusion, Sri Lanka’s close proximity to the equator makes it hot and humid with the day time temperature just above 30 degrees Celsius makes it difficult for the virus to survive. Since we are an island with no shared borders with other countries Sri Lanka is relatively a safe holiday option if you are considering an overseas holiday. So get your summer clothes on board the next flight to Sri Lanka and have a holiday free from every thought of the Coronavirus. 

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