Coronavirus Epidemic – Are We At Risk?

The recent outbreak of a new strain of coronavirus, called a novel coronavirus (nCoV) has received extensive media attention. Earlier this evening, the WHO declared coronavirus as a global health emergency. Since then, the virus has gained significant popularity around the globe. Originated from Wuhan, the commercial center of China, the virus has affected about 10,000 people in China alone with 213 reported deaths.
However, the rapid spread of the virus in 18 countries is an alarming situation. Let us have an overview of coronavirus and how it can have a severe impact on countries with little or no proper health system infrastructure.

What Is Coronavirus?

A novel coronavirus comes from a large family of coronaviruses that are commonly found in animals. These viruses can be transmitted from animals to humans and from humans to humans. Therefore, coronaviruses are highly contagious. These viruses cause a wide range of illnesses in humans, including the common cold, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. Since coronavirus is highly contagious, it spreads from person to person from close contact, coughing, and sneezing.

Common Signs and Symptoms

The illnesses caused by coronaviruses initially present symptoms similar to those of common cold and respiratory tract infection, such as fever, sore throat, flu and shortness of breath. However, the illness can worsen and lead to serious respiratory complications, and even death.


At present, no vaccine is available against the novel coronavirus (nCoV), and treatment is mainly symptomatic. Therefore, it is extremely important to take maximum precautionary measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Countries with weak health infrastructure, low-quality health system, and inadequate hygiene are at higher risk of suffering severe consequences from coronavirus.

  1. Adopt best practices to maintain personal hygiene.
  2. Learn to wash your hands properly. Studies have shown how regular hand washing can prevent the spread of different viruses, including coronavirus.
  3. Use a face mask to cover your mouth and nose. In countries with coronavirus epidemic, it is imperative to head out from home wearing a face mask.
  4. Moreover, if you are suffering from symptoms of common cold and flu, ensure to get yourself thoroughly examined and wear a face mask to avoid transmitting infection.
  5. Coronavirus is mainly found in animals. Therefore, it is best to wash meat and eggs thoroughly and cook them fully.
  6. Lastly, by all means, avoid close contact with persons presenting with symptoms of respiratory diseases, such as cough, sneezing, and flu.

Coronavirus In Pakistan

At present, no case of coronavirus has been reported in Pakistan. However, Pakistan continues to remain a high-risk country to suffer from the coronavirus outbreak. The frequent traveling of Pakistani nationals to and from China can bring the infection here.
Thus, it is more than essential to entail precautionary measures proactively at the government level. We need to educate and inform our people about the ways to prevent infecting from the disease in the first place. There is also a need to arrange isolation units beforehand. Hospitals are the primary means of spreading nosocomial infections, especially in a viral epidemic. Therefore, all the health care providers need to be trained about maintaining hygiene practices at hospitals and health care units.

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