Malaysians, it is really time to step up our hygiene game, because it has been reported that the World Health Organisation is now warning Malaysia and other countries to prepare for a wider transmission of the Wuhan novel coronavirus, now formally named Covid-19, according to The Star and Malay Mail!
This comes after regional director for the Western Pacific, Dr Takeshi Kasai, released an official statement today (12th February 2020) saying that the latest information that they have obtained indicates that the virus could be more highly transmissible than initially thought, as earlier findings have previously suggested.
“Responding to wider transmission would require shifting the focus of activities to protect the vulnerable and minimise the health and social impact.
If we don’t prepare now, we will not be able to activate those plans when they are needed.” said Dr Takeshi.
But do note, this doesn’t mean that the virus will necessarily spread easily in Malaysia. The warning is supposed to act as a precautionary reminder for governments. including our own, to ensure that their local medical facilities are ready to treat the most critical and vulnerable cases.
He has also suggested for countries to switch from medically isolating or quarantining everyone who is infected, to advising those who are mildly ill to stay at home and recover to avoid overwhelming local healthcare facilities.
“Steps must also be taken to ensure health facilities do not become places that amplify the virus’ spread, infecting staff and other patients,” he adds.
This in reference to reports of groups of people who are being infected without any links with China or Mainland Chinese people affected by the infection. Putrajaya is being advised to apply limited testing to monitor geographical spread and trends, instead of testing all suspected cases and conducting contact tracing on infected patients. Data obtained should be used to make more informed decisions on the public health response.
The government is also being told that they should prepare for the likelihood of temporarily closing schools and postponing mass gatherings to curb the spread of the infection.
So what can we do as citizens? Simple: maintain good hygiene. Wash your hands always, cover your nose with your elbow or with tissues if you’re coughing or sneezing, and keep at least a one metre distance away from people who are possibly sick. And if you are sick, stay home. That’s it!
Now that we’re being told to really be on guard, then it’s high time that all Malaysians be sure to look into their daily hygiene habits and avoid the likelihood of a full-blown outbreak in Malaysia!
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