What there is to know about coronavirus transmission and what to do to keep safe

By Antonio Manaytay

Practicing social distancing, frequent washing of hands with soap or hand sanitizers, and staying-at-home could lower the risk of coronavirus infection. So far this minimum health protocol has worked.

The case of the second positive COVID-19 patient of Zamboanga Sibugay, however, could be instructional.

Gov. Wilter Palma confirmed Sunday in a radio interview the 71-year-old patient has no travel history. But his neighbor is a Locally Stranded Individual (LSI), who had come home to their village in Payao town recently.

How the second COVID-19 positive patient contracted the virus is under study, the governor said.

Although it is not yet conclusive but the provincial health officials are looking at the possibility of the pasalubong (souvenir item) the patient had received from the LSI. This means that the transmission could have had occurred through the surface of the packaging of the pasalubong.

It is premature to conclude the transmission of the virus happened that way.

To date, there is no study to back the hypothesis a person can contract coronavirus after touching a surface or container.

Keeping oneself safe

William Marshall, M.D. reiterated, in an article published in Mayo Clinic, there is no evidence of anyone to contract the virus after touching a container or packaging. If it is so, going to a grocery could be risky. Or dining in a restaurant can no longer be comfortable.

That’s not the case.

But for the sake of safety, Dr. Marshall recommends washing of hands with soap, at least for 20 minutes, after touching the packaging or container.

Then wash your hands again before eating and after disposing the packaging, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends.

Limited knowledge about COVID-19

Currently, health experts don’t have all the answers how coronavirus spreads.

From the limited body of knowledge about the virus that causes COVID-19, there is much the public can do. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind to stay safe:

After buying fruits and vegetables in the market, wash them before eating. Keep in mind always the food safety guidelines in handling foods and eating them.

Clean and disinfect all recyclable bags used in going to the market.

Wearing face masks is a must when in public places especially in areas where social distancing is difficult to observe.

Be careful in touching surfaces. Researchers at the US National Health Institute have found out that coronavirus can stay up to four hours in copper, three days in materials made of stainless steel and plastic.

Avoid close contact with people who are not family members. Maintain a social distance of two meters (six feet). Some health agencies recommend at least a meter distance.

To stay safe is to obey the health protocol and other local health guidelines issued by the local governments to lower the risk of COVID-19 infection. (Mindanao Sun)

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