Coronavirus outbreaks have sparked concern amongst health officials worldwide, who are eyeing the snowballing cases as the disease works its way across the planet from the far east. China has 14 cities on lockdown as the disease spreads, with 26 people dead and 800 total cases worldwide.
The coronavirus has come at a difficult time for health officials, who may be struggling to contain the human-to-human transmission in the cold winter conditions.
Winter serves as an ideal breeding ground for viruses which have achieved the ability to spread between people, as they are more stable in cold air, and low humidity helps them to “float” for longer.
The cold also reduces bodily defences, allowing viruses to enter the body with ease.
According to Dr Jonas Nilsen (MD) co-founder of Practio, a travel vaccination service, the coronavirus will struggle to infect people during the summer.
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Speaking to Express.co.uk, he said: “Warm weather is not favourable conditions for the coronavirus.
“Other types of coronavirus infection is usually what gives a cold.
“Colds are more frequent in the wintertime as cold temperatures cool down the membrane on the nose which makes it easier for the virus to enter the body.”
Dr Nilsen also provided several tips for travellers as the virus continues to circulate.
He advised people to take the following precautions:
– Avoid non-essential travel to Wuhan, China and surrounding provinces
– Avoid close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections
– Avoid animals (alive or dead), animal markets, and products that come from animals (such as uncooked meat)
– Wash hands frequently with soap and water
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Dr Nilsen added: “Studies suggest that facial masks can be helpful in preventing the spread of viruses.
“It is a good idea to use facial masks in areas with many people, for example, airports, train stations, metro stations etc.”
The number of countries which have recorded incidents of the virus has now climbed to 10, among them the United States.
Other countries where the virus has spread include popular tourist destinations Vietnam, Thailand, and Singapore.
However, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has been hesitant to declare a global health emergency.
Members of the organisation’s International Health Regulations (2005) Emergency Committee said while the situation was “urgent”, it did not yet constitute an international emergency.
The committee added it expects further international cases in “any country”, and added the international community should prepare.
They added: “Countries should place particular emphasis on reducing human infection, prevention of secondary transmission and international spread and contributing to the international response though multi-sectoral communication and collaboration and active participation in increasing knowledge on the virus and the disease, as well as advancing research.”
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