Coronavirus Nearly 6000 Cases Close to 200 Deaths
The Virus Is Contagious and Person to Person Spread Has Been Confirmed
As you might have heard, there has been an outbreak of a respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) Coronavirus that originated in the Hubei Province in China. This virus is contagious and person to person spread has been confirmed.
To date, nearly 6000 cases and close to 200 deaths have been reported globally. No cases have been reported in South Africa, but we are monitoring the situation and the National Department of Health (NDOH) has instituted measures to detect symptoms at important ports of entry.
Bonitas (SA) will also assist the various healthcare providers, facilities and stakeholders through continuous engagements to ensure that they are mitigating risks and implementing measures for early detection.
Signs and symptoms
For confirmed novel Coronavirus infections, reported illnesses have ranged from people with little to no symptoms, to people being severely ill. Symptoms may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure.
Symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath, and these progress to severe illness signified by varied symptoms, including severe respiratory illness to multiple organ failure. The risk of being infected is higher for patients who may have underlying medical conditions.
Currently, there is no vaccine to prevent the novel Coronavirus infection, and the best way to prevent infection is to avoid close contact with people who show signs and symptoms of the virus; and implementing standard infection control precautions.
The following standard precautions should be followed:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water or alcohol-based sanitiser
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Stay at home if you are sick
- Practice cough etiquette, covering your cough or sneeze
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
Assessing your risk
Airports, harbours and train stations have been identified as high-risk areas where lots of people are around. If you plan on travelling through these ‘hubs’, we advise you to take extra precautions like wearing protective masks to minimise your risk.
As a Bonitas (SA)member, be sure to activate your Travel Insurance Benefit before you depart. Also be mindful of coming into contact with returning travellers from affected areas, especially those with flu-like symptoms.
The immediate health risk, based on current information, to the general South African public is low. But we urge you to take the necessary precautions when travelling to affected areas.