Combating coronavirus requires resources, commitment, and social responsibility

If you listen carefully to the LORD your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, who heals you.” Exodus 15:26

The World Health Organization this week called the Coronavirus (also known as COVID-19) a pandemic, as 122,000 have been infected, 100 countries having reported having people tested positive of the virus. The virus causes respiratory illness with flu-like symptom manifestation. Experts say the virus passed from human to human, it can survive in the air for a few hours but as long as three days on hard surfaces.

Fears mount over Coronavirus

A pandemic (plague, contagion, virulent) is an upgrade from epidemic (widespread, sweeping, rife, wave).

Countries around the world, including China have taken steps to fight the pandemic, as numerous sectors are being hit hard; for economic sectors such as the travel industry, it is slated to lose about $113 billion. For example, on Wednesday the US banned travel to China and some European countries. Various US sporting organizations like the NBA, has suspended the season until further notice. Churches are also closing for the time being.

NHS official Fauci in the US Congress advised “we must be aggressive in how we respond to the pandemic. We recommend that there should not be large crowds.”

In Malawi, the president established a committee to oversee the disease in the country. However, my friend recounted what she encountered when she returned from the Philippines.

When I was returning home last Wednesday from the Philippines, I experienced the following: –

  1. Right before the entrance of the airport were two water urns and soap for all incoming passengers to wash their hands.
  2. On the door masked health personnel checked each passing passenger’s temperature with the new temperature guns. Thereafter we were asked where they were coming from and how they are feeling.
  3. When I reached the immigration counter, I was also asked where I was coming from before my passport was stamped. The officers were also masked.
  4. After picking my luggage I had to have my luggage screened at the customs counter then met masked customs officials. They asked where am coming from and what am carrying. The lady on the scanning machine advised the fellow officer to sample opening one of my bags.

Then voila on my way home.

  1. Yesterday it was announced that the President has formed a Cabinet Committee on the Virus headed by the Ministry of Health where several ministries including Disaster Mgt, Foreign Affairs, Internal security, Defense etc. were members.

So, we are getting it right, slowly… what I have not heard is on the quarantine facilities should the need arise.

And oh, yes, there are radio announcements about the coronavirus. But all suspected infected people are sent home and monitored.

Is Malawi handling the COVID-19 with kid gloves the way the US is doing? Are we being more frightened with losing business if we come seriously face to face in tackling the virus the way Liberia did the Ebola virus in 2014-2015?

South Korea has been testing 10,000 people per day. In Israel, all people flying into Israel are instantly quarantined for 14 days. In Italy, one of the hardest-hit European countries, the whole country is under lockdown, with money-making activities including sports, entertainment, and fashion on mandatory shutdown. But it is the Philippines that wins the lion’s share award for great intervention measures on COVID-19.

My brother told me that at the conference he was attending, there were hand sanitizers at the door. As they went into or leaving the room, they used the sanitizers.

“These were not only at the conference facilities, but also at all the shops, our hotels and public premises, we found either hand sanitizers or the towelettes for people to use before they enter or leave,’ he said; commenting that this would be a boost for any alcohol producing company. The towelettes and sanitizers are infused with alcohol.

These are social responsibility for these commercial entities and playing a major role in protecting the people and the business owners.

Earlier in January this year, the Chinese pulmonologist who discovered the SARS coronavirus in 2003, Zhong Nanshan, issued an advisory, that has not reached the ears of the managers of the pandemic or the public.

He said in his statement: “My only intention is to pass on information that could help you.  In this case, it is a simple procedure that kills this virus that continues to infect thousands of people in many countries.”

 Zhong suggested simple ways to prevent the Wuhan pneumonia through rinsing your throat by gargling with saltwater before going to a hospital or other public places. He says this should be repeated after returning home.  His advice is as follows:

  1. a) Gargle with warm saltwater diluted in a glass.
  2. b) Lift head back; letting the saltwater bathe the back area of the throat.
  3. c) Open your mouth slightly and gargle with saltwater.
  4. d) Spit out the saltwater after a few seconds.
  5. e) Repeat the process 3 to 5 times.

Zhong said because viruses or bacteria lurk in the pharynx through the nasal passage, diluted saltwater can kill them on the spot, thus achieving the purpose of preventing infection.  During the SARS, he recalls that he encouraged and supervised his students to follow the saltwater gargle steps.

“As a result, none of our students in our class had a cold, cough and fever,” Zhong recalls.

“This method is simple, effective, easy to do.  But it requires one to be constant.”

Stay healthy, stay well —

  1. Wash hands often!
  2. Cover your cough!
  3. Don’t touch your face!
  4. Don’t touch your mouth!
  5. Don’t touch your nose!
  6. Don’t touch your eyes!
  7. Keep away from people that are sick. And
  8. Gargle with saltwater when going out and when coming in.

Combatting the virus requires resources, but more importantly it also requires commitment, and corporate and personal social responsibility.

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John Banda
John Banda
8 months ago

The advice of gargling with salt water is a myth. WHO states on their web page: “There is no evidence that regularly rinsing the nose with saline has protected pepole from infection with the new coronavirus.”

john telford
john telford
8 months ago

I fear for Malawi when this virus gets a hold , all sick and unhealthy people will go , most of the seniors will die, TB people also and most of all HIV sufferers . it is getting a hold in UK now as we speak john Telford

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