A coronavirus is a type of virus, as a group they are common across the world.
Typical symptoms of coronavirus include fever and a cough that may progress to a severe pneumonia, causing shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. The coronavirus can cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems (including older people and those with chronic conditions like diabetes or cancer).
The Wuhan Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new strain of coronavirus first identified in Wuhan City, China. No cases of COVID-19 have been detected in Gibraltar at present, and we currently consider the risk to our population to be medium. We are however, ensuring there are sufficient procedures and equipment in place to isolate any cases and prevent further spread if /when the virus arrives.
On Thursday 30th January 2020, the World Health Organisation declared the Novel Coronavirus COVID-19 a global health emergency.This definition is used to describe serious unusual,or unexpected health events. Only 5 such emergencies have been declared in the past decade.
Our current countries of concern include: China, Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Iran, Northern Italy (regions of Aosta Valley, Liguria, Lombardy, Piedmont, Emilia-Romagna, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol and Veneto), Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam & Tenerife. Please note, these may change in view of health updates.
No system of checks can offer absolute protection because of the incubation period of the virus. Some people might only show symptoms 11-12 days after exposure to an infected person. Our screening procedure at present is as follows:
If someone is critically ill, as always, call for an ambulance immediately on 190. Inform them of any current home isolation restrictions.
1) CATCH them; germs spread easily, so carry and use tissues to catch your cough or sneeze.
2) BIN them; germs can live for several hours on tissues so bin them as soon as you are able.
3) KILL them; hands can transfer germs to any surface you touch so ensure you keep them clean.
Best prevention also includes:
Maintaining social distancing. This involves keeping a distance of least 1 metre (3 feet) between yourself and other people, particularly those who are coughing, sneezing and have a fever. Viruses spread quickly through droplets released when someone coughs or sneezes, and when you are too close you increase your risk of breathing in the virus.
Disinfecting surfaces that may be contaminated.
Being aware of when you are ill, seeking advice when you need to, but ensure you call before visiting areas where others are sick and have lowered immunity.
Over 500 consultations took place in the PCC for upper respiratory symptoms in a two week period at the beginning of the year. Ensure you get the flu vaccine to help prevent flu associated complications, potential hospitalisations and the spread to others.
Ensuring you are Smoke Free
Quitting smoking, and avoiding second-hand smoke, is one of the single best interventions you can use to improve your health. Early studies into the 2019-nCoV indicate a relationship between smokers infected with the virus and poorer health outcomes. If you are a current smoker, make the decision to quit today.