South Africa has just confirmed it’s first case of COVID-19. While this is still isolated, with no other confirmed cases there is no need for panic. But preparation and understanding how to best protect yourself is always helpful. So what exactly should you do to prepare for a possible outbreak?
Places you should avoid
South Africa has just confirmed it’s first case of the coronavirus.Since this is still isolated with no other cases confirmed it is still safe to go to public gatherings like concerts, weddings, and sporting events.
With regards to traveling, the CDC suggests that travellers avoid all nonessential travel to South Korea, Mainland China, Italy, Iran, Japan.
Should you work from home?
Currently, there is no need to make special arrangements to work from home. However, if the outbreak spreads significantly in your area, there is a high possibility that places of business could be forced to shut down for an extended period of time. In which case you would need to speak with your employer about the possibility of working from home, or applying for extended sick leave while heath officials try and contain the virus.
The CDC has posted helpful guidelines on its website to help business owners and employees plan for the possibility of working from home. These include sick leave policies, non-punitive leave policies, and policies regarding staying at home to care for sick children.
The CDC also suggests that any employees who are sick should not return to work until their temperature has stayed below 37.8 degrees Celsius for 24 hours without the help of any fever-reducing medicine.
Should you stock up on medicine?
Before South Africa suffers an outbreak, it is recommended that you periodically check up on any vital prescriptions you might need to ensure you have a regular supply. The US Department of Homeland Security suggests that you get electronic versions of important health records from pharmacies, hospitals, and doctors that you frequently visit.
Supply lines for certain goods have been disrupted as a result of the virus, check on your stock of chronic medication in case it becomes more difficult to get these.
What to do if your loved ones are showing symptoms of the Coronavirus?
If your loved ones or housemates are showing any the following symptom- high fever, weakness, lethargy, or shortness of breath or have underlying conditions- they should seek immediate medical attention.
The Department of Health has asked South Africans not to go to a health facility or your general practitioner should they feel sick after travelling. Instead, they should call NICD hotline number 080 002 9999 who will advise them on what to do next.
Should you buy a face mask?
Contrary to popular belief, the CDC does not recommend that you purchase or wear a face mask if you are in good health. According to the CDC, only wear a face mask if a health care professional recommends you do so. A face mask should be used by people who are showing symptoms of the virus or by people who have already contracted it as a means to protect others from getting infected.
The World Health Organisation has been stressing the importance of good hygiene especially when it comes to washing your hands. It is reccomended to wash your hand frequently with soap for a duration for 20 seconds and avoid touching your face.