Q: What is the Coronavirus?
A type of virus that originates from animals and is then passed on to humans. COVID-19 (the most recent outbreak) was first reported in China in December of last year. At the time of writing 94 cases have been confirmed so far in Pakistan, with 76 in Sindh.
Q: Who is at risk of getting infected?
Anyone can get infected. But some people are at higher risk of getting very sick from this illness. They include:
· Older adults.
· People who have serious chronic medical conditions like: heart disease, diabetes, lung disease.
· The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
· It spreads between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
· When an infected person coughs or sneezes the respiratory droplets they emit can transmit the virus.
· It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes.
Q: What should you do?
· Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.
· Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.
· Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good 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.
· Wear a mask if you come into close contact with other people regularly, during work, commute etc.
· If you use a surgical mask, discard it after one use. Do not touch the outside of your mask.
· You should also get yourself tested if you’ve interacted with someone who recently travelled to a country where the coronavirus is active.
Q: What are the symptoms if you get infected?
· The most common symptoms are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea.
· Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illnesses. People suffering from coughing, fever and those with difficulty breathing should seek medical attention immediately.
Q: What should you do if you have symptoms of infection?
If you have developed a new cough, or a flu, self-quarantine yourself, avoid physical contact (especially with older people) and get yourself tested at the earliest.
· Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention.
· Stay at a distance from people if you think you have the symptoms and get tested at the earliest.
· Cover your face with a mask if you are coughing or sneezing to avoid spreading the virus.
Currently, only the Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH) and Dow University Hospital (Ojha Campus) have the capability to conduct the tests, while other medical facilities send their samples to these two for testing.
· Civil Hospital – Karachi (Public hospital)
· Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre - Karachi (Public hospital)
· Lyari General Hospital - Karachi (Public hospital)
· Indus Hospital - Karachi (Private hospital)
· Aga Khan Hospital - Karachi (Private hospital)
· Dow University of Health Sciences, Ojha – Karachi (Private hospital)
Tests are free if you go through the government system and the above-mentioned public hospitals (and Indus Hospital) will send your samples to AKUH or Dow for free. If you go directly to AKUH, the COVID-19 test will cost you Rs 7,900.