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The Coronavirus Scare

The South China Morning Post reported that a Chinese man was intercepted by port authorities who traveled from Wuhan City, China to Kowloon, Hong Kong for showing signs of fever. He tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

However, further investigation showed that he was accompanied by four other family members who did not show any symptoms and thus, were able to board a Cebu Pacific Flight 5J111 bound for Manila on Wednesday morning. The Department of Health (DOH) is actively looking at the flight manifesto and searching for these four passengers and tracing their whereabouts as well as those people who were in close contact with them who could have been exposed if they carry the said virus on board.

Last December 2019, a pneumonia outbreak occurred in Wuhan which baffled the health authorities in China. Initially, they cannot pinpoint the cause. But further studies identified a novel (new) coronavirus (2019-NCOV) to be the culprit. There has been confirmed cases in Taiwan, Thailand, Japan, South Korea and even the United States who all have a history of travel to Wuhan City. Thus, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been closely monitoring the situation together with the World Health Organization (WHO).

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can cause illnesses in humans as well as animals like camels, cats and bats. They can cause mild to moderate upper respiratory tract infections like the common cold with signs and symptoms such as runny nose, headache, cough, sore throat, fever, body malaise and/or general feeling of being unwell. However, they can also cause severe lower respiratory tract infections like pneumonia and bronchitis with signs and symptoms of fever, cough and difficulty of breathing which can end in death, especially in immunocompromised individuals like those suffering from cardiopulmonary diseases, impaired immune response, infants less than 2 years old and the elderly.

Since this corona virus has been newly identified, the exact mode of transmission, the incubation period and the extent or the spectrum of clinical findings have yet to be determined. There is no vaccine or specific treatment for 2019-NCOV. Thus, management is mainly supportive.

You can protect yourself from this disease or from any viral disease by observing the following simple steps:

(1) Wash your hands often with soap and water

(2) Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands

(3) Avoid close contact with sick people

(4) Eat healthy food.

(5) Get enough sleep.

You can also protect others by doing the following precautionary measures:

(1) Stay home when you are sick

(2) Avoid close contact with others

(3) Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze

(4) Clean and disinfect objects and surface

SOURCE: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (

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