A Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)-like virus called novel coronavirus or COVID-19 has already killed and infected thousands in China. The Philippines is now placed on Code Red Sub-Level 2, explained as “it surpasses the government’s ability to respond.” The high-risk areas in Luzon are still under enhanced community quarantine while certain areas are placed under general community quarantine until May 15, 2020 where strict home quarantine is implemented in all households, public transportation is suspended, provision for food and essential health services shall be regulated, and heightened presence of uniformed personnel will be visible in every checkpoint. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the novel coronavirus outbreak a pandemic, which means it’s widespread over a whole country or world.
The dissimilarity: Coronavirus and Novel Coronavirus
Coronaviruses (CoV) are a species of virus belonging to the large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). Coronavirus broke out in China which killed more than 300 people on its mainland and in Hong Kong between 2002 and 2003. A total of more than 800 people died worldwide because of this virus.
Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new strain of coronaviruses that is rapidly mutating and adapting as the number of deaths continue to rise. Its pathogen has not been previously identified in humans. The new virus emerged from the market of Wuhan—where seafood, live animals, and wild species are sold—last December 2019 and has killed 17 people in China and infected more than 600 people, including other countries such as Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, South Korea, and the United States. Novel coronaviruses can be transmitted from animal to person and from infected human to another person.
Symptoms, effects, and possible treatments
Common signs of novel coronaviruses include respiratory symptoms like fever, cough, cold, breathing difficulties, and shortness of breath. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and even death. According to the Department of Health (DOH), the elderly and those who have weak immune systems are more prone to the virus that could cause much more serious respiratory tract illness.
As of now, there is no specific treatment for diseases caused by novel coronavirus, but research is being conducted. The symptoms can be treated immediately based on a person’s clinical condition. If symptoms get worse than a mild or usual cold, cough, and fever, it is best advised to see a doctor as soon as possible.
Public health measures you must follow
Prevention from the virus includes maintaining basic hand and respiratory hygiene. It is also important to consider safe and clean food practices and, as much as possible, avoid contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness like coughing and sneezing. The World Health Organization and Department of Health released several health tips and measures to protect yourself from novel coronaviruses.
Travel advisory and implemented precautions
Many countries have already imposed lockdown and temporary travel ban to and from several countries where there are confirmed cases of COVID-19.
The DOH said that health workers must be more vigilant when in contact with patients with acute respiratory infections, especially those with travel history in China. All modes of public transportation in the Philippines are suspended until May 15, 2020.
As of writing, there are 10,794 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Philippines with 719 reported deaths and 1,924 recoveries. Person Under Investigation (PUI) and Person Under Monitoring (PUM) are now being observed as the number of confirmed cases increases.
Refrain from disseminating false information to avoid fear and panic among the public. Always follow the preventive measures. Stay updated and safe!
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This is a developing story.