Coronavirus and how to protect yourself

The recent emergence of the coronavirus, which originated from Wuhan province in China, has spread to various countries around the world including Canada. So far, two cases have been confirmed in Toronto and one in Vancouver, with others being tested for the virus.

Several international airlines have cancelled flights to and from China, with 250 Canadians registered with Global Affairs Canada saying they’re in Wuhan and 126 have asked for help to get home.

The World Health Organization just declared coronavirus as a global health emergency.

Meanwhile, hand sanitizers and face masks have become short supply with several retailers running out of stock on either item. Symptoms of the coronavirus include repeated high fever, prolonged coughing after fever, headaches and difficulty breathing. 

According to Health Canada, the virus is potent and resistant to existing antibiotics.

Because it is not a bacterial infection, the virus cannot be treated by antibiotics. The best remedies to ward off any potential contamination include the following:

  • Wash your hands under soap with running water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use an alcohol based sanitizer only when soap and water are not available.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with your sleeve when you cough or sneeze.
  • If you use a tissue, dispose of it as soon as possible and wash your hands.

If you are travelling, the government advises those travelling to regions where severe coronaviruses are known to occur should take precautions against respiratory and other illnesses while travelling, and seek medical attention if they become sick.

During your trip:

  • Avoid high-risk areas such as farms, live animal markets, and areas where animals may be slaughtered.
  • Avoid contact with animals (alive or dead), including pigs, chickens, ducks and wild birds.
  • Avoid surfaces with animal droppings or secretions on them.
  • Avoid contact with sick people, especially if they have fever, cough or difficulty breathing.
  • Avoid eating raw or undercooked animal products.
  • Be aware of the local situation and follow local public health advice. In some areas, access to health care may be affected.