Today, we will talk about the hot topic going around that potentially lethal and pesky coronavirus. So, what exactly is this coronavirus? It is, actually, a large family of viruses that can cause sickness ranging from the common cold to major health problems with the respiratory system including possible pneumonia. It usually causes diseases in mammals and birds, but in humans it causes respiratory infections and potentially pneumonia and gut health issues. The incubation period for the coronavirus remains unknown, but some scientist say it could be between 10 and 14 days. It spreads like the common cold, through coughing/sneezing, contact with hands or face of infected people or by touching things in public places like door knobs or shared pens. Most household disinfectants will kill it and the Coronavirus will die within 48 hours in room temperature. However, it unfortunately can live in a carpet for up to seven weeks!
The new strain of the virus was identified on January 7, in this case it was identified in Wuhan, China within a seafood market that was selling live animals. The Coronavirus causes a fever, difficulty breathing, impaired liver and kidney function, kidney failure, severe cough and/or pneumonia. Most cases have been reported in China but there are also cases in many Asian countries, Australia, Europe and North America. There’s not yet a vaccination for this new virus. There have been many transport restrictions in China affecting 56 million people. These restrictions have been put in order to try and contain the virus. As of now, the World Health Organization has not constituted a global health emergency. Though, this is an emergency in China. As with all viruses that we try our best to avoid throughout our day to day lives, there are simple procedures to reduce risk, tremendously!
If you are having any cold symptoms, pain in the respiratory system or difficulty breathing you can be tested at a lab through saliva or blood by a doctor. There are ways that we can reduce exposure and transmission, here in Cambodia and also worldwide. Here is a list by the World Health Organization about the best precautions to take against this virus. The World Health Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations that is concerned with international public health. It was established on 7 April 1948, and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. The WHO is a member of the United Nations Development Group. They say, first and foremost, we should frequently clean our hands with alcohol-based sanitizer or soap and hot water. Secondly, we can avoid close contact with anyone that has a fever and cough. It is important to avoid direct contact with live animals and surfaces that animals have been on in the marketplace, here in Southeast Asia. Consumption of raw or undercooked animal products is a big no-no. We should avoid raw meat, milk or animal organs in live markets, if we do so, we should use gloves. If we are cooking, we should not have raw materials in contact with uncooked food and use separate chopping boards. If you do choose to wear a facemask, be sure to cover your mouth and nose and avoid touching the mask once it’s on. You must immediately discard a single use mask after each use and wash hands after removing the mask. These masks are not necessary all the time, but if you are worried, they could help alleviate some stress. If you are going into a high-risk area, like a live market, you should take this precaution.
Overall, there are almost one hundred cases reported outside of China. The Cambodian Ministry of Health confirmed the first case in Cambodia. This was in the Sihanoukville region. Through following the measures recommended by the World Health Organization that I have listed above, your chances are not very high of getting this virus in Cambodia. Please be mindful and take necessary precautions to keep yourself safe. As I mentioned before, this is not a world health emergency so please do not panic and be sure to take proper precautions to go about with your daily routines. If you are traveling, you could stay out of live markets to reduce your chances of being in contact with the virus. Be safe out there but don’t let fear take the joy out of your day to day activities. As of today, Cambodia is still a mighty fine place to spend your days.