Everyone in the world is susceptible to the Wuhan coronavirus, as no one has had it before, and there's no vaccination at the time of writing this.
Borders are being closed, planes are being grounded, and passenger arrivals at airports around the world are being monitored. It may have begun in Wuhan, China, but to date it has spread to about 15 other countries, including the United States, Thailand, Vietnam, Australia, and Germany, to name a few. Already combatting the flu season that has caused 8,200 deaths in the United States so far, the new coronavirus has killed approximately 106 people and infected more than 4,500 in China alone.
The Wuhan coronavirus is acting similar to the SARS virus. It started in animals before jumping to humans. There's a long incubation period of up to 14 days, which means that people may be infected long before symptoms show.
Here are a few basic rules that should be followed to avoid the coronavirus, especially when travelling:
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds frequently.
- Always carry alcohol-based hand sanitizer for when there's no water available.
- Unwashed hands should never go anywhere near your eyes, mouth, or nose.
- Avoid snotty-nosed people of any kind – nasties lurk in droplets of saliva, bodily fluids, and mucus.
- Always cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Dispose of the tissue in the trash, and wash your hands.
- Avoid being in contact with anyone that's sick.
- Have heaps of packets of disinfectant wipes and wipe down everything around you frequently. The coronavirus has shown that it lasts anywhere between 3 to 12 hours on surfaces.
- Don't share your food or drink – it's not the time to be benevolent to your fellow traveller.
- Until there's the invention of a tongue condom, don't play tonsil hockey with a newfound lover.
- Limit your "people" exposure, as time and distance matter. Sick-stranger-danger should be the new slogan, as it only takes 10 minutes of being within six feet of an infected person for the virus to jump on you.
- If possible, grab a window seat on a plane, as you are less likely to come into contact with an infected person – providing the person beside you is not already infected. People who move around the plane frequently are more prone to become infected, in fact, 80 per cent more likely. So sit in your seat and stay there. Better yet, don't get on a plane unless you have to.
- The mile-high club is closed for the duration of the virus's rampage. In other words, don't exchange bodily fluids with the beautiful body sitting beside you on a flight.
- Avoid animals, animal markets, and animal products if possible, such as uncooked meat.
- Wearing a mask will give you a false sense of security, as it won't protect you against airborne droplets, and they rarely fit your face properly. It may offer some protection from the big spray of cough mucus or a sneeze, but the smaller particles can still be transmitted.
Although said to be “better than nothing” another potential problem with masks is that wearers of them may not be as vigilant as they should be about contact with other people or hygienic hand washing.
It could be said, "Don't go to China," but it isn't only China that has seen cases of the virus.
If you experience a fever, cough, or have difficulty breathing, you should seek medical attention straight away.