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As the deadly coronavirus continues spreading from China to other parts of the world, including Africa, Zambia says it has intensified screening to prevent its transmission by people coming from other countries.

Transport and communications Minister Mutotwe Kafwaya said all passengers coming to Zambia through international airports were being screened against the coronavirus.

Mr. Kafwaya told ZNBC News that the country was on high alert to ensure that all travelers coming from high risk areas were screened despite not having directs from China to Zambia.  The coronavirus has killed more than 2,900 people in 58 countries and infected over 86,000 others.

Below are basic protective measures against the virus: Wash your hands frequently.

Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.

Why? Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.

Maintain social distancing

Maintain at least one metre (three feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.

Why? When someone coughs or sneezes the spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the coronavirus if the person coughing has the disease.

Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth

Why? Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose and mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.

Practice respiratory hygiene

Make sure you, and the other people around you, follow goo respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze.

Then dispose of the used tissue immediately. Why? Droplets spread virus. By following good respiratory hygiene you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and coronavirus.

If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early, stay home if feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.

Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on the situation in your area. Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also protect you and help prevent spread of viruses and other infections.

Stay informed and follow advice given by your healthcare provider. Stay informed on the latest developments about the virus. Follow advice given by your healthcare provider, your national and local public health authority or your employer on how to protect yourself and others from coronavirus. Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on whether coronavirus is spreading in your area. They are best placed to advise on what people in your area should be doing to protect themselves. Source: WHO


By Chusa Sichone- Times of Zambia 2nd March, 2020

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