Stop panicking, practise social distancing, say health experts

social distancing, health experts

Abu Dhabi - The Abu Dhabi Public Health Centre has charted out preparations for a situation of self-quarantine as well as how to do it.


Ashwani Kumar

Published: Sun 15 Mar 2020, 10:10 PM

With no vaccine available so far to curb the highly infectious Covid-19 coronavirus, planning and preparation are the best way to deal with the situation, health authorities and medical professionals have said.
The Abu Dhabi Public Health Centre issued a fresh advisory to healthcare providers with measures to be taken for mild to moderate respiratory infections, severe acute respiratory infections and positive cases.
The centre has charted out preparations for a situation of self-quarantine as well as how to do it. "Anticipate at least 14 days in isolation at home. Try to have a two-week supply of non-perishable food items in the pantry.
"Stock long-life alternatives to perishable food items, such as powdered and UHT milk, tinned fruit and frozen vegetables. Have a supply of disposable tissues, anti-bacterial wipes and latex gloves. Check that your first-aid kit includes a thermometer and paracetamol to reduce fever. Make sure you have enough of any prescription and non-prescription medication you need to last couple of weeks," the centre said.
"Talk with friends and relatives who don't live with you about supporting each other if one household has to be quarantined. For example, agree to drop groceries or other supplies at the front door."
Apart from being prepared for two-week isolation, the centre noted that those who are already in quarantine at home must avoid contact with others. "Quarantine helps to slow the spread of infection across a population."
For home quarantine, one must look for a room with attached bathroom, basic services, supplies and phone to communicate with health workers who are monitoring the case.
On the use of face mask, the centre said: "Wear a face mask when you are helping in closed contact with others. Check the mask has been well fitted. Throw away disposable face masks after use. Wash hands regularly with soap and water immediately after taking off a face mask and before touching anything else."
'We are in unchartered territory'
Dr Ayesha Khalid, family medicine consultant at Burjeel Hospital Abu Dhabi, said public must only follow the instructions of health care providers and don't believe in any hearsay. "We are in an unchartered territory. This hasn't happened before and it's natural for people to be scared. There is lot of panic, misinformation and fake news.
They should believe only on authentic information coming from health authorities. Moreover, we all are in safe hands. The spread in the UAE is not rapid. This is because of the measures taken by the government including closure of educational institutes, tourists spots and cancellation of public events etc."
Dr Ayesha said people must pre-empt a situation of self-quarantine and be prepared. "People should be prepared for seven to 14 days of isolation. You should have perishable food supplies of one to two weeks in the pantry. But this shouldn't lead to frenzied purchase and storing things."
She underlined that people should act sensibly and take extra care of elders at home.
"People, especially elderly or those with poor immunity, must avoid public places where there is big gathering and interaction. Hygienic measures like washing hands with soap, use of sanitisers, and disinfecting surfaces should be followed. If you develop new symptoms of fever, cough, instead of going straight to clinic, one should rather ask advice of doctors through phone."
She noted there are many things that still are unknown about the Covid-19. "We don't know the long-term complications of those who have recovered. This is as new as December." People should also keep phone number to report symptoms and call health authorities in case of emergencies.

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