Muscat, Feb 26 – Novel coronavirus (COVID-19), which till today has no vaccine to control, is being studied closely by the researchers.
According to Professor Eskild Petersen, Specialist in Infectious Diseases, University of AARHUS, Denmark and Consultant at Oman’s Ministry of Health, the droplets that fall on table tops or other surfaces such as door handles through an infected person’s coughs or sneezes, can keep the virus alive at least for a couple of days.
“This depends on the temperature and moisture level in the environment that is why we are urging people to wash their hands with soap regularly,” said Prof Petersen in an interview with the Observer.
On the best method of quarantine, Prof Petersen said, “Keeping in mind that this seems to be quiet a resilient virus. Coming to an understanding that this is a relatively mild infection and people would very much prefer to be at home compared to quarantine facilities. Somewhere decision has been taken to maintain home quarantine. It is also based on the experience of SARS outbreak in 2003 in Toronto, Canada which was well controlled using the method of home quarantine. It is a combination of restricting people in what they can do and at the same time being socially acceptable as well as medically acceptable. Hospitals should be kept for people who are ill if there is a need.”
Quarantine at home requires a single room with attached toilet and if the patient were to leave the room, it must be by wearing surgical mask so the droplets are kept inside the mask.
“Do not forget that if anyone in household falls ill, the virus is excreted in the house before the person fell ill. So the idea is that the people in the household have already been exposed so the home quarantine is the way to do it, which probably would mean that people would keep it there and if they are not seriously ill they do not need hospital bed,” clarified Prof Petersen.
Traditionally in Oman Luban has been used in the belief that it can kill off germs and when asked if it could be effective in destroying this virus, the professor said, “I do not think so. I do not think it makes any difference.”
“Hand sanitisers are solutions to kill germs. So it is going to help you just like washing hands frequently. It does help in removing germs from the hands and killing germs especially if the surface area has been contaminated. But it is a good idea that if you cannot get a hand sanitiser then you can just wash your hands,” Prof Petersen said.
“The surgical masks are not tight fitting to your face so it does not prevent you from getting virus into your lungs. Surgical masks are used when you are infected and you are coughing out the virus. In such situation the surgical masks will keep the virus within the mask and not let it spread. If you want to protect yourself from the virus then you have to use N95 mask which has a filter and is a tight fitting mask. But the problem with N95 is that it is so tight fitting that the person becomes warm very quickly bringing in discomfort. For example it is not practical to wear them to work unless in medical environment. Teachers for instant would not be able to conduct class wearing N95 masks,” he said.