Latest: WHO just declared coronavirus global emergency. But Sabahan parents, please keep calm.

As of today (31 January 2020), the World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared the novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV outbreak a global health emergency. 

In a BBC news report, WHO Chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was quoted as saying,

“The main reason for this declaration is not what is happening in China but what is happening in other countries.”

This may sound like a cause for panic. But official sources have assured the WHO’s declaration is for the benefit for lower- to middle-income countries with weaker health systems in a bid to boost health surveillance. 

For us in Malaysia, the Health Ministry in the last few days confirmed 8 positive cases of coronavirus. Rest assured, those patients are now contained and under treatment.

What have our authorities done?

Just yesterday, State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Dtk Christina Liew confirmed that Sabah will be
temporarily suspending all in-bound flights from China to Kota Kinabalu with immediate effect.

That means during the suspension period, Sabah will not be receiving any tourists from various cities of China. 

Other than that, the State Health Department is closely monitoring any suspicious cases, while Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) has been equipped with thermal scanning devices to monitor arrivals.

What can parents do about it?

#1 Keep calm

Parents are panicking, understandably. But the best we can do in situations like this is to trust authorities and people working at the frontline of the outbreak.

Research revealed last Thursday showed that out of 99 coronavirus cases, the average age of infected patients was 55.5.  As compared to SARS, the coronavirus also has a lower fatality rate. While the total number of fatalities have reached 213 in China, it’s shown that those that died were already suffering from various other health problems.

#2 Stay updated with news from official sources

Parents here in Malaysia are being bombarded with a torrent of articles and sources on the outbreak — especially on social media and WhatsApp. Thus, we urge our readers to verify sources and favour news from official media channels.

For the latest, we can follow our Health Ministry on Twitter. 

#3 Keep good hygiene at all times

This goes without saying. Please ensure that we are keeping clean at all times.

Because the coronavirus is spread through air droplets just like the common cold and flu, we will have to:

  • wash our hands more often; 
  • sneeze or cough into tissues or our elbows (not hands); and 
  • make sure to sanitize any public equipment we may come in contact with (shopping trolleys, baby high chairs at restaurants etc);
  • avoid direct contact  with live animals;
  • refrain from eating raw or half-cooked meat and dairy products
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