Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is a novice illness that affects your lungs and airways. The current outbreak began in December 2019 after the Chinese authorities notified the World Health Organization (WHO) of numerous cases of pneumonia in Wuhan City. Three months later, WHO declared COVID-19 as a pandemic, calling on governments to implement “urgent and aggressive actions.”
So far, European countries like Spain, Italy, Bulgaria, Germany and Hungary have all closed on citizens’ movement. Stricter restrictions have not taken place in the UK yet, as officials fear “behavioural fatigue.” They recognise that if the firmer restrictions are appropriated too early, it will make people increasingly uncooperative and less vigilant, just as the outbreak swigs into a higher stage. As of March 16, the number of cases in the UK has increased to 1,543, with 35 being on the death toll.
On March 3, the UK Government released a four-phase emergency action plan to deal with the pandemic:
- Contain: detect early cases. Follow up close contacts, and prevent the disease from taking hold in this country as long as is reasonably possible.
- Delay: slow the spread in the UK, if it does take hold, lowering the peak impact and pushing it away from the winter season.
- Research: better understand the virus and the actions that will lessen its effects on the UK population; Innovative responses that include diagnostics, drugs and vaccines; use the evidence to inform the development of the most effective models of care.
- Mitigate: provide the best care possible for people who become ill, support hospitals who support essential services and ensure ongoing support for people ill in the community to minimise the overall impact of the disease on society, public services and on the economy.
How to behave during the COVID-19 epidemic?
The National Institute for African Studies (NIAS) advises all its staff, volunteers, members and partners to take extra precautions and avoid unnecessary social mingling. The symptoms of a person infected with coronavirus are:
- A high temperature (you feel like your body is heated more than usual)
- A new, continuous cough (repeated cough that you cannot stop)
Because COVID-19 is a new illness, there is no clear explanation about how it spreads from person to person, and antibiotics do not help as they do not work against viruses.
To avoid catching or spreading the coronavirus:
- Wash your hands with soap and water each time when you get home or into work (do it often for at least 20 seconds)
- Use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or the inside of your elbow
- Put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards
- Try to avoid close contact with people, especially with those feeling unwell
- DO NOT touch your eyes, nose, mouth if your hands are not clean
- As of today, NIAS’s general guidance remains in line with Public Health England and government advice.
- However, we will restrict our NIAS Creative Campus offices & project activities to our online portals only, for now.
- We will keep the charity shop open until further notice. We will continue to monitor the situation on an hourly basis and adjust our plans accordingly.
- Staff and volunteers at the shop are advised to observe strictly; a safe social-distance between themselves and customers as well as personal hygiene recommendations at all times.