Coronavirus virus that has created havoc in China with over 100 people killed and over 4000 affected, has the potential to spread fast because of human-to-human transmission, according to World Health Organisation (WHO). NT KURIOCITY asked a few Goans how worried they are and how can one stay safe

It may have started with a bat in a cave, but human activity set it loose. The coronavirus has captured the world’s horrified attention, caused a lockdown of millions of people and has disrupted travel plans across the globe. Since this virus is transmissible from one person to another, the goal must be to break the chain. The WHO should sound the alarm and declare the outbreak ‘a public health emergency of international concern’. Standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.

Tresnor Menezes

Coronavirus, a new virus emerged in Wuhan, China is creating a major issue due to the rising infections and exceeding death tolls. This virus is causing respiratory illness, fever, cough as well as breathing problems in humans. The spread of this virus from one person to another is through cough and sneeze. Exact medications, vaccines or antivirus drugs are not yet approved to cure or treat this virus. WHO along with the experts from round the globe are working hard to study the virus and formulate strategies for its cure. Maintaining proper hygiene and cleanliness, usage of handkerchief while sneezing and resting sufficiently can protect us from getting infected.

Tanisha Samant, Saraswat’s Sridora Caculo College of Commerce and Management Studies, Mapusa

The novel Coronavirus (nCoV) outbreak in Wuhan has already affected nearly 6000 persons with over 130 deaths globally and has originated in animals. It spreads via droplet infection, direct contact with infected persons and is highly infectious with even mild and subclinical cases capable of transmitting the virus. As a chest specialist, I am definitely worried as I am more likely to come across such patients as it presents mostly with pneumonia and respiratory symptoms. To reduce such transmission, all unnecessary travel to and from China should be avoided. Immediate reporting with suspicious symptoms to nearby health facility is required. Frequent hand washing with soap for at least 20 seconds, maintaining good cough etiquettes, wearing personal protective equipment like apron, gloves, well fit N95 respirator masks and face shields can protect all including healthcare staff from this virus. So also, since there is no specific antiviral treatment or vaccine, avoiding direct contact with suspicious persons and large public gatherings and avoiding consumption of raw or undercooked meat is advised. A high degree of suspicion, increased awareness among the people with effective contact tracing and self isolation or quarantine of symptomatic or suspicious persons can definitely protect us and our near and dear ones.

Anika Anil Prabhu Parrikar, senior resident, department of Pulmonary Medicine, Goa Medical College, Bambolim

The Coronavirus causes a severe respiratory infection that could potentially be fatal. The virus is still spreading. As many as 15 cities in China are under partial or complete lockdown. Its death toll has reportedly climbed to over 100.What makes this virus particularly lethal is that it mutates easily and can spread even in its incubation period, which means the risk of contagion is high even before any symptoms show up. There is no vaccination and so prevention is the best solution. So prevention of the spread of the virus seems to be the best bet.

Abhinav Wadekar, Vasco

As described, the Coronavirus is mostly spread through human to human transmission. India has taken many measures to treat reported cases and to avoid the spread of the virus. Some basic precautions I feel everyone should follow are like maintaining personal hygiene like proper disposal of used tissues and washing your hands after touching common surfaces like in a bus or market area. Since the symptoms are very similar to a common cold, no one should dismiss the symptoms and quick action should be taken, not just for one’s safety but also for others around you. I am definitely concerned about the spread of the virus, but if everyone takes care of their personal hygiene and of those around them. I think then we are much safer.

Alvina Almeida, Carmel College for Women Art, Science and Commerce, Nuvem

Since the Coronaviruses mutate rapidly and are highly contagious, we should be worried at the pace at which it has spread in China and other Asian countries. Also its symptoms are same as those of common cold – running nose, sore throat, cough, fever and fatigue. It makes differentiation and treatment difficult.
We can take general precautions like use of nose masks, avoiding over-exertion, drinking plenty of water, not visiting crowded places and following good hygiene to prevent getting infected.

Huzefa Ujjainwala, Ponda

Health authorities should keep stringent watch on foreign travellers as the origin of virus seems to be in China; secondly, awareness should be created in schools, colleges and amongst citizens regarding the seriousness of this issues. They should be directed with some guidelines on how to keep safe. I believe it’s the collective responsibility of all to take care of themselves and help those who are unaware about what measures to take in such situation of emergency.

Kishan Mangueshkar, Don Bosco College of Engineering, Fatorda

A new virus outbreak has taken the world by storm in the recent days and it’s been a matter of concern for many scientists worldwide due to the fact that there is no cure. Why should we worry? Because within a few days of being detected it has already killed 100, and infected 4000 people. Moreover, the possible modes of transfer include human to human transmission. In the world today where billions of people are coming in contact with each other a daily, this number is set to increase even further. But is it impossible to stop it? No. We can stay safe and increase the time for scientists by taking some precautions. WHO and USDCRS say that washing hands for 20 seconds, using masks in crowded places and keeping the throat moist would decrease the chance of infection. Further, staying away from bats is recommended. We should also restrict our international travels to affected countries like China, Nepal, Taiwan, Seattle in United States, etc. We should avoid touching our eyes, mouth, etc, with our hands. By following these precautions we can prevent an ebola-like situation again.

Sai Lolla, Goa Engineering College, Ponda

Coronavirus has become a big concern for many today because of how fast it is spreading. It is scary how the virus is similar to common cold and how many are having a common cold. People are scared of what if they have contracted the virus, and it is not a common cold that we normal get. The virus needs a cure as soon as possible so that it does not affect and spread other parts of the nation. In order to stay safe the WHO has suggested some healthy and hygienic practices. Frequently clean hands by using alcohol based soap and water. When coughing and sneezing cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue. Throw tissue away immediately and wash hands. Avoid close contact with anyone who has fever and cough. Wear a mask when travelling in public places. When visiting markets avoid direct unprotected contact with live animals. Avoid touching eyes, hands, nose or mouth with unwashed hands. Avoid contact with any sick person having cold and fever. Make sure to wash hands before and after cooking food. If we try to follow basic hygiene practices we can be a step safer to not contracting this virus.

Rachel Fernandes, St Xavier’s College, Mapusa