The new coronavirus, officially the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), was first detected in Wuhan Province, China in December 2019. It was confirmed as a new and distinct strain of the coronavirus on the 7 of January 2020. Coronaviruses are zoonotic, which means they move between animals and humans. For example, the last major coronavirus strain, SARS was transmitted to humans from Himalayan Palm Civets and one Racoon Dog in a live animal market in China. The MERS, which originated in Saudi Arabia, was passed to humans from the domesticated camels. In terms of the new Novel Coronavirus, no wild or domesticated animals have been confirmed as hosts or carriers so far, however, the majority of initially infected individuals were connected with the Huanan South China Seafood Market. In response, the Chinese Government has temporarily banned wild animal markets.
The symptoms of Novel Coronavirus have included: fever, sore throat, headache, cough, runny nose, chills and muscle pain. As with other strains of coronavirus, the Novel Coronavirus is through to spread through large droplets that enter the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
At the time of writing, there are more than 20,000 confirmed cases of Novel Coronavirus in China. The virus has also spread to other countries with more than 5,000 patients across more than 25 countries throughout Europe, North America, and Australia. While approximately 490 people have died, 978 have fully recovered. Wuhan and 15 further cities have been quarantined to prevent the spread of the virus in China. A special hospital to treat infected patients has also been open, after a quick 10 day construction period in Wuhan.
Meanwhile, some countries have banned the arrival of passengers arriving from China, including Italy, Vietnam, the United States, and Australia. The Center for Disease Control recommends avoiding all non-essential travel to all parts of China.
It’s fair to say people in China are panicking, which is understandable because it is an intense and scary situation. Many supplies in supermarkets have been depleted and stocks of face masks have run out, or are running low. While there is no 100% effective measure to guarantee protection from the Novel Coronavirus, there are a few recommendations that can help avoid infection, which are outlined in a short check-list below.
The standard advice for personal protection from Novel Coronavirus centers around three key areas.
Frequent hand washing is strongly advised, with soap or alcohol solution. This is particularly important after covering the mouth with a hand after sneezing or coughing. Regular hand washing and adopting a cough etiquette will help to avoid the spread of germs to others. An appropriate cough etiquette means covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and cough into the elbow
In communal spaces, apply extra vigilance to keep surfaces clean. In addition, don’t touch your nose, mouth, and eyes with unwashed hands especially when you’re in a public place. It is also important to avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as a fever, coughing or sneezing.
The World Health Organisation recommends avoiding the consumption of meat and eggs that are not fully cooked. It is also strongly advised to avoid visiting food markets where live animals are kept. As there is a specific, potential link, with seafood in the case of Novel Coronavirus it is particularly advisable to avoid visiting seafood markets. If you can not avoid attending a seafood or animal market, avoid touching your nose, eyes, and mouth while at the market and wash your hands thoroughly after the visit. More generally, it is advisable to avoid visiting highly crowded places, especially famous tourist spots.
Strains of the coronavirus normally spread from one person to another through large respiratory droplets that are air-borne, particularly after an infected person coughs or sneezes. These air-borne droplets can be breathed in by another person or may land on a surface that another person may come into contact with. Wearing a face mask is advisable to increase protection against inhaling Novel Coronavirus infected droplets, as close contact with others is not always easily avoidable, particularly in public spaces.
It is important to note that no mask is 100% effective against the spread of any strain of coronavirus, however, studies have shown that hand-washing when coupled with wearing a face-mask, is more effective for influenza virus prevention, when compared with only hand-washing, or no intervention at all. Studies have shown that the basic surgical masks and the N95 respirators are both good options. Many people choose the N95 respirator as it is designed to achieve a very close facial fit and very efficient filtration of airborne particles, with the proven protection of 95% of particles.
If you are looking for a long-lasting and comfortable face-mask, the Atmotube’s face mask is designed to give a close fit for the face, which can also help to provide optimal protection from viruses. The fabric is easily breathable, while still providing adequate protection of up to 95% of particulate matter between 2.5 and 10 PM, which includes most pollen, dust, smoke, soot, dirt, and traffic emissions.
The Atmotube’s mask and filters fit the N95 standard.
The 4-layer filter technology of the Atmotube’s mask is unique, with the mask already fitted with the two filters. To keep the mask fresh and to maximize protection, the filters can easily be changed and the fabric can be washed.
Finally, the inside layer of the Atmotube mask is designed to be gentle on the skin. Made from hypoallergenic fabric, the delicate skin of the face will stay soft and free from irritation.
We hope this coronavirus update has helped you understand the current risks posed by Novel Coronavirus, as well as provided a better understanding of how to avoid it while traveling. This advice can also be useful to help prevent the spread of the flu and common cold more generally.