There is a new kind of ‘mystery virus’ in the air, believed to have infected hundreds since its outbreak in December 2019, in China’s Wuhan city. Now, it is being compared with the SARS virus, owing to the similarity in symptoms. If you are looking to travel to China, or to parts of Japan, Thailand and South Korea, here are some essential tips to keep in mind, so you can exercise caution. Read on.
What is coronavirus?
It is believed to be a large group of viruses that are common among animals. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the viruses are zoonotic, meaning they can be transmitted from animals to humans. The World Health Organization (WHO) predicts that more cases will be reported, with people travelling around for the Chinese New Year on January 25.
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Typically, the symptoms include the general feeling of being unwell. The virus, when inside the body, can cause runny nose, sore throat, headache and fever. While these are the typical symptoms of flu that go away in a few days, the coronavirus can cause respiratory tract illnesses, making it especially deadly for those with a weak immunity system — like old people and children.
The virus would have spread when a human being came in contact with an infected animal. And then in contact with another healthy human being through secretions, thus spreading the disease. Scientists say the virus can spread via a cough, sneeze or handshake, or by touching something an infected person has touched, and then using the hand to touch your mouth, eyes and nose.
Do not panic if you begin to show some symptoms. While there is no vaccine available yet, you can reduce your risk by staying away from crowded areas and minimizing your contact with afflicted people. You must wash your hands with soap and water, as diligently as possible, drink plenty of fluids and get enough rest so as to boost your immunity.
Before you travel
Learn about the place, especially if you are travelling to China. While the outbreak is largely in Wuhan, cities like Shanghai and Beijing have reported cases, too. Some countries in the Asia-Pacific region have initiated body temperature checks at airports, so as to curb the spread.
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