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CORONAVIRUS

Since the outbreak of coronavirus in late December, there has been a lot of misinformation. So we’ve put together this short guide to covid-19, along with links to some key sources of information.

 

01  

Novel Coronavirus

What is the coronavirus?

The official name for the virus is COVID-19, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). The CO stands for corona, VI for virus and D for disease. The outbreak was first reported in December 2019, so the 19 represents the year it emerged.

You may still see it referred to as novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) by the WHO and others. That’s what it was often called by health authorities before it was given it’s official name.

You can find up-to-date information and advice on the WHO website. If you’re living in or visiting the UK, please check the NHS guidance for information and guidance on the illness. Similarly, Gov.uk has advice on what to do, the risk level in the UK and recent government action..

02

2019-nCoV

A new strain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

03

The confusion about the virus

Why the confusion around the name?

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a 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).

COVID-19 is a new strain that had not been previously identified in humans, which is why it originally went by the broader title of coronavirus and had to be given an official name by the WHO.

04

Assessing process

How does the WHO assess the risk?

We have witnessed the emergence of a previously unknown pathogen that has escalated into an unprecedented outbreak,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “We must act together now to limit the spread.”

“Our greatest concern is the potential for the virus to spread to countries with weaker health systems and which are ill-prepared to deal with it,” he added.

Having escalated from the initial outbreak, COVID-19 is now a global pandemic. Quarantine and social distancing are used to flatten the curve, while testing is used to determine if someone has the virus.

05

The spread of the coronavirus

"We have witnessed the emergence of a previously unknown pathogen that has escalated into an unprecedented outbreak. We must act together now to limit the spread.”

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

Having escalated from the initial outbreak, COVID-19 is now a global pandemic. Quarantine and social distancing are used to flatten the curve, while testing is used to determine if someone has the virus.

06

Advice if you think you have symptoms

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms include a new and continuous cough, a high temperature and shortness of breath according to the COVID-19 guidance by the NHS.

If there’s a chance you could have coronavirus, you’re advised to self-isolate. Stay at home and avoid public spaces such as work and school.

The advice is to only go outside for food, health reasons or work (but only if you cannot work from home). If you go out, stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people at all times and wash your hands as soon as you get home. Do not meet others, even friends or family.

It’s important to note that you can spread the virus even if you don’t have symptoms.

07

The prevention methods

How to prevent it from spreading

We don’t know exactly how COVID-19 is spread from person to person because it’s a new illness but similar viruses are spread in cough droplets. There is also evidence that the virus can survive on surfaces for different lengths of time.

There are various things we can all do to prevent germs like coronavirus spreading:

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze.
  • Put used tissues in the bin straight away and wash your hands afterwards
  • Wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds.
  • Wash your hands as soon as you get home
  • Use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
08

Healthcare professionals

What should they be doing?

From a clinical perspective, there are guidelines around everyday cleaning and disinfection. The WHO has best practice recommendations for infection prevention and control for health care workers caring for patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.

At Medipal, our expert microbiology team can help with the real world interpretation of these guidelines, detailing the products and processes needed to conform to this WHO and NHS guidance.

In the event of severe acute respiratory infection when COVID-19 is suspected, the WHO has also produced these clinical management guidelines.

09

Disinfectants that are active against enveloped viruses

What disinfectants are recommended?

Environmental cleaning in healthcare facilities or homes housing patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection should use disinfectants that are active against enveloped viruses.

There are many disinfectants, including commonly used hospital disinfectants, that are active against enveloped viruses. Currently WHO recommendations include the use of:

  • 70% Ethyl alcohol to disinfect reusable dedicated equipment (e.g., thermometers) between uses.
  • Sodium hypochlorite at 0.5% (equivalent 5000ppm) for disinfection of frequently touched surfaces in homes or healthcare facilities such as Medipal's Chlorine Wipes.
10

The spread of coronavirus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11

Where it is in the world

The spread and current high risk areas

Having first emerged in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, the majority of infections were initially in China and the Far East. But the virus has spread to other parts of the world.

Leading academics are using AI and machine learning to look for signs the virus is taking hold in countries outside of China. A program by the Harvard Medical School is mining social media data for health trends that could relate to the symptoms of COVID-19.

Meanwhile, researchers at Johns Hopkins University have created a COVID-19 visualisation of the spread around the world based on official numbers and confirmed cases.