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COVID-19: WHO recommends 10 basic preventive measures

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Coronavirus

Geneva, Feb 29 : The World Health Organisation (WHO) has outlined 10 basic personal prevention measures against COVID-19, including cleaning hands and surfaces regularly and avoiding travelling when having a fever or cough.

“Your risk depends on where you live, your age and general health. WHO can provide general guidance. You should also follow your national guidance and consult local health professionals,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was quoted as saying by Xinhua news agency on Friday.

  • The first of the 10 measures is to clean hands regularly with an alcohol-based hand rub, or wash them with soap and water. Touching the face after touching contaminated surfaces or sick people is one of the ways the virus can be transmitted. By cleaning the hands, one can reduce the risk.
  • Second, clean surfaces regularly with disinfectant, for example kitchen benches and work desks.
  • Third, educate oneself about COVID-19, but make sure the information comes from reliable sources such as local or national public health agencies, the WHO website, or local health professionals. The symptoms, for most people, start with a fever and a dry cough instead of a runny nose. Most people will have mild disease and get better without needing any special care.
  • Fourth, avoid travelling when having a fever or cough, and when becoming sick while on a flight, inform the crew immediately. Once home, make contact with a health professional.
  • Fifth, cough or sneeze into sleeves or use a tissue which should be disposed immediately into a closed rubbish bin, and then clean hands.
  • Sixth, those who are over 60 years old or having an underlying condition like cardiovascular disease, a respiratory condition or diabetes, the risk of developing severe disease could be higher. Take extra precautions to avoid crowded areas or places where interaction with people who are sick is possible.
  • Seventh, everyone who feels unwell should stay at home and call doctors or local health professionals who will ask about the symptoms, where one has been and who one has had contact with. This will help to make sure that one gets the right advice, is directed to the right health facility, and will prevent from infecting others.
  • Eighth, stay at home when being sick, and eat and sleep separately from family members, use different utensils and cutlery to eat.
  • Ninth, if shortness of breath appears, call doctors and seek care immediately.
  • And tenth, it’s normal and understandable to feel anxious, especially when living in a country or community that has been affected. Find out what can be done in the community. Discuss how to stay safe with the workplace, school or place of worship.

Containment starts with you. Our greatest enemy right now is not the virus itself. It’s fear, rumours and stigma. And our greatest assets are facts, reason and solidarity,” said Tedros.

Disaster

Antibodies that could shield kids from rare, polio-like disease

Researchers at the Vanderbilt Vaccine Center isolated antibody-producing blood cells from the blood of children who had previously been infected by EV-D68.

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Covid 19 Vaccine

New York, July 4 : Researchers have identified human antibodies that potentially can prevent a rare but devastating polio-like illness in children linked to a respiratory viral infection.

The illness, called acute flaccid myelitis (AFM), causes sudden weakness in the arms and legs following a fever or respiratory illness.

More than 600 cases have been identified since the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention began tracking the disease in 2014.

“We were excited to isolate potent human antibodies that inhibit this devastating polio-like virus, and these studies will form the basis for taking them forward to clinical trials,” said James Crowe, Professor at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in the US.

There is no specific treatment for AFM, which tends to strike in the late summer or early fall and which has been associated with some deaths.

However, the disease has recently been linked to a group of respiratory viruses called enterovirus D68 (EV-D68).

Researchers at the Vanderbilt Vaccine Center isolated antibody-producing blood cells from the blood of children who had previously been infected by EV-D68.

By fusing the blood cells to fast-growing myeloma cells, the researchers were able to generate a panel of monoclonal antibodies that potently neutralised the virus in laboratory studies.

Researchers at Purdue University determined the structure of the antibodies, which shed light on how they specifically recognise and bind to EV-D68.

One of the antibodies protected mice from respiratory and neurologic disease when given either before or after infection by the enterovirus, said the study published in the journal Science Immunology.

“Studying infectious disease from a very basic level and applying the results in an animal model of disease is very powerful; hopefully, our studies will translate to a future therapeutic for this disease in children,” said Richard Kuhn, Professor at Purdue University.

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Cities

Punjab to go for Covid-19 rapid antigen testing

On successful completion of the pilot rapid antigen project, which will cover a minimum of 1,000 tests, such testing would be done on the migrants coming back to the state in the wake of reopening of industries and for work in the paddy fields.

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Amarinder Singh

Chandigarh, July 3 : Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Friday gave the go-ahead for launching a pilot project for Covid-19 rapid antigen testing from the coming week, as well as e-registration for people entering the state to ensure strict monitoring of those coming from the high-risk NCR region.

On successful completion of the pilot rapid antigen project, which will cover a minimum of 1,000 tests, such testing would be done on the migrants coming back to the state in the wake of reopening of industries and for work in the paddy fields.

The state will procure rapid antigen testing kits to scale up its Covid testing capacity, which is even now higher than the Central government’s mandate of 140 tests per million per day in regions with positivity factor of less than 10 per cent.

With positivity rate of just two per cent, Punjab is already conducting 242 tests per million a day as part of its strategy to check further spread of the pandemic.

Notwithstanding the Centre’s revised guidelines replacing home quarantine for domestic travellers with self-monitoring, the Chief Minister ruled out any such move in Punjab in view of the large number of people coming to the state every day from Delhi and the NCR, where cases were currently spiralling.

He also made it clear that no vehicle should be allowed to enter Punjab without a stringent monitoring mechanism in place.

Amarinder Singh was reviewing the Covid situation and preparedness in the state with senior government and health officials, through video conference.

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Health

Except for Sindh, Pakistan Covid situation improving: Asad Umar

He also urged citizens to remain mindful of the fact that an improvement was only being seen because they were following precautionary measures.

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Islamabad, July 3 : Pakistan’s Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives, Asad Umar on Friday said that while the country”s overall coronavirus situation was getting better, there was a significant lack of improvement in Sindh, particularly in the provincial capital Karachi.

Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, the Minister said that the the number of deaths, patients admitted to hospitals and patients on ventilators has gone down, Dawn reported.

Crediting this development to citizens following precautionary measures to curb the spread of the virus, Umar said if this continues, the country”s situation will continue to improve.

“However, there is only one area where we are not seeing that much improvement, which is in Sindh, especially Karachi,” he said.

He maintained that to address this, the National Command and Operation Centre team held a meeting with the provincial chief secretary and the provincial health minister and was working on a way to replicate the results in Sindh as in the rest of the country.

He also urged citizens to remain mindful of the fact that an improvement was only being seen because they were following precautionary measures.

“Don”t take this to mean that the pandemic is going away on its own and you can do whatever you want,” he cautioned, adding that a lapse in following preventive measures could cause the number of cases to rise again.

“I had earlier warned that our cases could reach 1.2 million by July end if we don”t take action or follow preventive measures. But because people are following precautionary measures and the administration is also taking action (things have been improving),” Umar added.

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