The outbreak of the deadly coronavirus has left millions of people around the globe fearing for their well-being. Over 40,000 people have contracted the virus worldwide and there have been at least 910 deaths.

According to the BBC, a woman who returned to the Ivory Coast last week, from Beijing, is undergoing tests ‘after showing flu-like symptoms’ in what is a suspected case of the disease.

‘If confirmed, it will be the first case of the deadly virus in Africa,’ added the BBC.

Travelling in and out of China’s Hubei province, the disease’s epicentre, has been suspended by most public transport companies and services.

All trade of wild animals and related products has also banned, with local authorities saying they will ‘strengthen inspections and severely investigate and punish those who are found in violation of the provisions of this announcement.’

This means that no wildlife can be transported or sold in any markets or online anywhere in China. Suspected violators will be sent to security services, and their properties will be shut down and sealed. Legal breeding centres have also been made to go through quarantine.

Chinese authorities are implementing a number of measures to try to prevent any further spreading of the virus.

According to the Japan Times, China’s National Health Commission recommends that ‘patients be given two lopinavir and ritonavir tablets twice a day and a dose of alpha-interpheron through nebulization twice daily.’ These HIV drugs are being used in the interim, as China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention begins working on a vaccine.


How to protect yourself while travelling

If you are currently travelling in or around any of the countries with confirmed cases of the virus: China, Thailand, Taiwan, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Vietnam, the United States, France, Australia, Malaysia, Nepal, Canada or the United Kingdom, here’s how to minimise your risk of exposure:

Avoid high-risk areas such as farms, live animal markets, and areas where animals are slaughtered, including fish and seafood as well as any contact with live animals.

If you come into contact with animals or animal products, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth until you have thoroughly disinfected and sanitised your body.

Wash your hands often with soap and clean water, carry hand sanitiser with you and use it often.



Keep a distance from sick people, especially if they have a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing.

Monitor your own health closely, and see a health care professional immediately if you start feeling unwell.

Adhere to the advice of local authorities.

Contact your airline or travel company for information about changes to flight services.

It is still unknown whether wearing a face mask will reduce your risk of exposure to coronavirus. That being said, if you are travelling in one of the above-mentioned countries, you must follow the advice of local authorities about whether wearing a mask in public is mandatory or not.



Safety tips before your trip

If you are planning to travel to any of the affected countries, here are a few things you should know to ensure your safety:

Talk to your doctor before travelling with children, if you are pregnant or have a weak immune system. If you feel unsure, it might be safest to cancel your trip entirely.

Familiarise yourself with your medical aid’s policy for overseas treatment before you go, and make sure your travel insurance covers hospitalisation in case of an emergency.

Take a good multivitamin and immune-booster.