International News

Coronavirus Myths: WHO finally clears the air

WASHINGTON: The World Health Organisation (WHO) recently urged people across the globe to avoid untested medicines and herbs that were being offered with claims that they can cure the novel coronavirus.

Referring to various supposed cures and medicines being offered across the globe, particularly on the internet, a WHO advisory reminded the general public that “to date, there is no specific medicine recommended to prevent or treat the novel coronavirus.”

The novel corona has been termed as a new strain of virus that has not been previously identified in humans. Now officially named 2019-nCoV, the strain was detected in late last year when China reported its outbreak in Wuhan.

The statement stressed that “those infected with 2019-nCoV should receive appropriate care to relieve and treat symptoms, and those with severe illness should seek “optimised supportive care.”

Advising people on how to protect themselves from getting infected with the new virus, WHO added: “Maintain basic hand and respiratory hygiene, and safe food practices and avoid close contact, when possible, with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.”

The advisory also reminded people that following measures ‘are not’ specifically recommended as 2019-nCoV remedies as they were not effective to protect yourself and can be even harmful:

Taking vitamin C, smoking, drinking tradition herbal teas, wearing multiple masks to maximise protection and taking self-medication such as antibiotics.

“If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing seek medical care early to reduce the risk of developing a more severe infection and be sure to share your recent travel history with your health care provider,” the bulletin added.

WHO had received 14,557 confirmed cases of this virus, including 2604 new cases. Out of 14,557 cases, 14,411 were from China, including 2,590 new and 2,110 severe cases. Of the severe cases, 315 are new. WHO also confirmed 304 deaths, including 45 new. So far, WHO has received 146 confirmed cases from 23 countries, other than China, including 14 new.

The update also confirmed the first death outside of China, in the Philippines. The patient was a close contact of the first patient confirmed in the Philippines.

WHO also revised its global risk assessment, retaining China in a “very high risk” category while the global level remained high. The latest WHO bulletin also warned against a massive ‘infodemic’ an over-abundance of information, some accurate and some not, that “makes it hard for people to find trustworthy sources and reliable guidance when they need it.”

-MN Report

February 3, 2020

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