Frequently Asked Questions and Answers about Coronavirus

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers about Coronavirus

2/13/2020 11:16:59 AM

1. Did the Wuhan virus (aka Coronavirus) originate from bats?

Research from Peking University suggests that the Wuhan virus might have come from snakes. What we don’t know is whether snakes can be infected by the new coronavirus. Since the outbreak, the seafood and animal market has been shut down and disinfected, which makes it very difficult for us to find the source animal.

2. What are the symptoms of Coronavirus infection?

You can get fever, runny nose, sore throat, cough or shortness of breath. The Ministry of Health of Vietnam says it has all the similar symptoms as that of normal pneumonia.

3. How does the Coronavirus spread?

Human-to-human transmission is confirmed but we do not know how or how easily the virus spreads from one person to another. The virus is usually spread when you come into close contact with an infected person, that’s about 2 meters from an infected person over a period of 30 minutes or more.

4. What is the incubation period?

Data from early cases in China suggests that the incubation period is about 14 days.

5. Who is at risk of becoming infected?

Of the initial cases, many of them are over the ages of 40. Of those who died, many had underlying conditions like cardiovascular disease or diabetes. But it doesn’t mean young people cannot get infected. Some of the cases are in otherwise healthy young people.

6. What type of mask should I use to protect myself from the virus?

MOH  of Vietnam says masks are generally not needed if you are feeling well. But if you are feeling unwell, use a surgical mask instead of an N95 mask. Surgical mask can help block large particle droplets and splatter. It can also reduce exposure of your saliva or secretions such as phlegm or mucus. The N95 masks are not recommended by MOH of Vietnam as they are designed in a way that makes it difficult to breathe in, if they are worn properly.

7. Does it help to wash your hand?

Yes! Please wash your hand! Health authorities say you should wash the back of your hands, between your finger and under your nails. Make sure you scrub for at least 20 seconds. If you haven’t washed your hands, don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth. And if you’re going to cough or sneeze, use a tissue or your sleeve, but don’t cough into your hands.

8. Can the Wuhan virus be killed by alcohol?

The CDC (US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) says you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if you can’t get to soap and water. Likewise, you can use alcohol – for instance, isopropyl 70% or ethyl alcohol 70% to disinfect surfaces. You can also use bleach for surface disinfection.

9. Is there a cure for Coronavirus?

No, there is no cure for the Wuhan coronavirus yet – there is no specific treatment for the virus yet, despite trials of different medication cocktails. At the moment, patients get medical care to relieve their symptoms.

10. Is there a vaccine for the virus?

There is no vaccine for the Wuhan coronavirus yet – it is a newly identified virus. And it means it can take a number of years for a new vaccine to be developed and to pass all trials needed for public commercial use.

11. What do I do if I have cough and runny nose and have recently travelled overseas?

If you have recently travelled overseas, particularly to China, and have symptoms like a fever, runny nose, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath – go and see a doctor and make sure you do it promptly. MOH of Vietnam recommends that before you go and see a doctor, you make sure you wear a mask and call the clinic/hospital beforehand. Please also provide information about your symptoms and travel details to exposed areas, such as China.

12. I suspect I was at the same place as a confirmed Coronavirus patient. What should I do?

Authorities are conducting contact tracing for anyone who’s come in close contact with an infected person. So if that’s you, you will be placed in quarantine for 14 days either at home or at a healthcare facility. If you are deemed to be at “low risk” of becoming infected, you’ll come under active surveillance from MOH Vietnam at your home. That means you’ll be contacted daily so that they can monitor your health status. In the meantime, if you’re not feeling well, you must immediately go and see a doctor.

13. Am I at risk of catching the virus from packages shipped from China infected area?

According to the US CDC, coronaviruses don’t survive well on surfaces, which means there’s a very low risk of it spreading form your products or packages from China or infected area. That’s because many of these would have been shipped over days, sometimes weeks at ambient temperatures.

14. Can animals get infected?

While we know that this virus may have come from an animal source, it is now spreading from person to person. The US CDC tells us that you should avoid live or dead animals if you’re travelling to China. And there’re no reasons to think animals or pets anywhere else are a source of infection.

15. Is Coronavirus similar to SARS or MERS?

The new Coronavirus is not the same as SARS and MERS but it’s more genetically related to SARS than MERS. The US CDC says we don’t know for sure if the virus will behave the same way as SARS or MERS. What we do now is that we can take information from those outbreaks to tackle the Coronavirus.

16. Will China begin to regulate its meat markets to prevent the consumption of wild animals?

China has temporarily banned the trading and transport of wildlife across the country until, in its words, “the epidemic situation is lifted nationwide”. That means there will be no trading of wildlife in markets, supermarkets, restaurants, or online. There’s a hotline for people to call if they spot any instances of trading. China has also promised to step up inspections. So in the meantime this ban will be in place while China grapples with the situation.

17. What should we do if there are employees WHOM travelled back from China?
As per Guidelines from MOH OF VIETNAM, all persons who travelled back from Wuhan, China or from the confirmed pandemic areas, should be present themselves to Hospitals if they have fever, cough or dyspnea.
For those who don’t have symptoms, the Guidelines instruct that they should be self-isolated (i.e to stay at home and limit contact with others) and follow up symptoms for 14 days since the last day at the pandemic areas.
Symptoms to be followed include cough, dyspnea, and fever (i.e temperature measurement). In case there are any doubts, please contact the clinics or hospitals for further instructions.

18. What should I do in order to strengthen my immune systems during the virus outbreak?

There are many anecdotal advices regarding how to strengthen the immune systems, e.g to take vitamin C tablet, to eat onion, honey, or to get some IV infusion… Unfortunately, such advices are not based on solid scientific evidence. 
The medical recommendation to get an optimal level of immunity is to drink enough water during the day, to get good sleep, to have a healthy diet including fruits, nuts, and vegetables, to avoid excess alcohol consumption and smoking. 

Flu vaccination (i.e Vaxigrip or Influvac) is recommended to effectively protect you from having flu, which is strongly impacting your immune system.

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