To handle coronavirus, vigilance is key

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The World Health Organization, South-East Asia, has urged countries in the region to remain vigilant and increase readiness to rapidly detect any case of importation of the new coronavirus and prevent its spread. It has asked for focusing all efforts on readiness, guided by whatever is known about the new viral strain.
The Myanmar health authorities are also scaling up surveillance at international airports and border gates.
However, symptoms of coronavirus appear about two weeks after infection, according the World Health Organization. This means our thermal scanners can detect the travelers with symptoms including higher temperature but would not be able to detect every traveler infected with the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. The symptoms may appear after the travelers move from an outbreak area to a hotel or guest house or home.
In such a situation, health professionals at private hospitals, clinics, and hospitals would be the first persons to examine suspected cases, and they are playing a crucial role in quickly responding to infected patients, in accordance with the directives and guidelines laid by the Ministry of Health and Sports.
Besides, cooperation between people and health professionals is very important to prevent infections as coronavirus can spread easily.
Meanwhile, the role of those working in the tourism industry, including at hotels and guest houses, is also important from the surveillance point-of-view. The workers should remain vigilant and report suspected cases to the health authorities in a timely manner.
We would like to urge visitors, especially from the countries affected by the outbreak, to fill the Health Declaration Form thoroughly to ensure effective surveillance in fighting the disease.
As in the case of any new virus, much remains to be understood about coronavirus. The WHO has prepared an interim guidance on case detection, testing, clinical management of cases, infection prevention and control during healthcare, home care for people suspected to have contracted the virus, and guidance on reducing transmissions.
The WHO is working with countries in the region to roll out these guidelines; prioritizing reviewing and building capacities for laboratory diagnostics, including referral of specimens and diagnosis; planning training in case management, specimen collection and transportation, and infection prevention and control; providing logistics support, and communicating risks and promoting desired behavior in the community.
Though the new coronavirus is being called the Novel Coronavirus 2019, it has not been declared a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) by the Emergency Committee of the International Health Regulation, which met last week. Its risk was assessed to be ‘high’.
The health authorities are keeping a close watch on the situation in the country, and we all should continue to be vigilant and be prepared to contain and prevent the virus from spreading any further.

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