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Coronavirus: World Health Organization (WHO) Advice For International Travellers

The outbreak of the novel coronavirus in the city of Wuhan (China) has caused havoc across the nation. The death toll due this virus has reached 170 and around 7711 confirmed cases were reported by the Chinese authorities. The virus has also spread to around 16 countries through infected international travellers.

Seeing the severity of the condition, the World Health Organization (WHO) has come up with certain advice for international travellers who are exiting from the coronavirus-spread countries and entering countries where the virus is not yet spread. These tips will limit the risk of the spread of the virus.

What Is Coronavirus?

Coronavirus is a group of viruses which are found in animals. These viruses get transmitted to humans after mutation and cause symptoms like common cold, fever, headache, cough and sore throat. People with a weak or compromised immune system have a higher risk of getting infected by the coronavirus and cause chronic symptoms like pneumonia or respiratory tract disorder. The human coronavirus is a contagious disease which is known to spread by the infected fluid during sneezing or coughing. People are strictly advised to cover their mouth and nose while sneezing or coughing and take other measures to prevent the spread of the virus.

WHO Advice For Exit Screening

The exit screening is for people who are leaving coronavirus spread countries.

1. Encourage screening at airports located within the local area to minimize interference with the international crowd.

2. Screening at the international airports should be carried out with the aim of early detection of coronavirus so that the traveller can get early treatment and the risk of exportation of the virus to other countries can be avoided.

3. The screening test should include checking for signs and symptoms in every traveller like those with a fever above 38-degree Celsius. Passengers with severe respiratory symptoms should be interviewed to find out whether the coronavirus has spread to them from an infected person or by exposure to the animal source. Such individuals are the potential threats and steps should be taken for their further testing of COVID-19.

4. People with confirmed cases should be kept under isolation with necessary treatment.

5. Individuals who had direct contact with confirmed coronavirus cases or exposed to sources which are the potential threats should be kept under observation and their travel should be restricted until they have completed incubation period i.e 14 days.

6. Raise awareness about the coronavirus spread and its prevention. This should be implemented at the entry point of airports or railways so that people can be aware of the signs and symptoms associated with the virus and report it in case they notice similar symptoms.

WHO Advice For Entry Screening

The entry screening is for people who have travelled from infected countries or areas to countries where the coronavirus has not spread yet.

1. The screening test available at the entry may miss travellers who are infected but the virus is in the incubation period, the time before the appearance of the symptoms. Infection in a vast number of people is detected from this entry screening test. Therefore, it is suggested that the spread of the human coronavirus may go down if the screening test is advanced to detect the infection while it is incubating in a person, followed by the medical check-up of that person.

2. Along with the temperature screening test, important details about the virus spread should be communicated to people via posters or leaflets. People should be made aware of the risks and symptoms associated with the coronavirus and how and where they can seek medical help.

3. Countries who have implemented the temperature screening test are advised to do a proper analysis of travellers by establishing proper mechanism.

4. The health authority of the country should collaborate with airlines operators and discuss the handling of the travellers detected with severe respiratory symptoms. The cabin crew should be responsible to manage the disease from spreading on board.

Preventive Advice For The Public By WHO

  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water. It would be better if the soap is alcohol-based.
  • Avoid close contact with people who have flu-like symptoms like a cough or fever.
  • Always remember to cover your mouth while sneezing or coughing. Also, don't forget to wash the hands immediately.
  • Avoid consuming undercooked or raw meats.
  • Avoid visiting live markets in areas where the virus is spread. Also, avoid the areas and surfaces where animals live.
  • Avoid spitting in public roads.
  • If you notice any human coronavirus symptoms, immediately seek medical help to prevent the risk of the spread.
  • Wear masks to cover mouth and nose and avoid touching it.
  • Avoid contact with sick or dead animals.
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