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31 January 2020

How to protect yourself from Novel Coronavirus and prevent spreading it

In the context of the current outbreak of coronavirus, IAS Medical feel that it is important to share information about what we all can do as individuals to protect ourselves and prevent spreading the disease further. The information below is based on tips from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the USA.

What can travellers do to protect themselves and others?

  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • Avoid animals (alive or dead), animal markets, and products that come from animals (such as uncooked meat).
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Stay at home if you have signs and symptoms of an infection.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Travel wisely. Don’t fly when you’re ill. With so many people confined to such a small area, you may infect other passengers in the plane. And your trip won’t be comfortable, either.

With a little common sense and the proper precautions, you can avoid infectious diseases and avoid spreading them.

If you travelled to China in the last 14 days and feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, you should:

  • Seek medical care right away. Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.
  • Avoid contact with others.

What is the current situation?

  • This outbreak began in early December 2019 and continues to expand in scope and magnitude. Chinese health officials have reported hundreds of cases in the city of Wuhan and severe illness has been reported, including deaths. It has currently spread to Europe, USA and several Asian countries.
  • Person-to-person spread is occurring, although it’s unclear how easily the virus spreads between people.

What to look out for regarding the Coronavirus virus:

According to the CDC, a person could be at risk if they have:

  • Fever and symptoms of lower respiratory illness, such as coughing or difficulty breathing, after travelling to Wuhan or having close contact with someone who was ill and is now under investigation for the virus in the past two weeks.
  • Fever or symptoms of lower respiratory illness after having close contact in the past two weeks with someone who’s been confirmed to have the virus.

The CDC defined “close contact” as being within about 6 feet (1.8 m) “or within the room or care area” of a person with the coronavirus for a prolonged period without appropriate protective clothing, or “having direct contact with infectious secretions” of a person with the virus without protective clothing.

The agency said close contact could include “caring for, living with, visiting, or sharing a health care waiting area or room” with a person with the virus.

Reference: Centres for Disease Control and Prevention: January 6, 2020 https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/watch/novel-coronavirus-china

Can people with Coronavirus be transported by air ambulance?

If you or a loved one is away from home and has contracted a highly infectious disease or virus such as Coronavirus, it can be a very worrying time, due to the travel restrictions imposed by some countries. However, it may be possible to transport patients with Coronavirus via air ambulance, using a specialist EpiShuttle device. This pod-like device is designed to allow the safe travel of patients with infectious diseases, without spreading it to the medical or aircraft staff around them.

Travelling using this device is subject to medical notes and the receiving country accepting the patient. Due to the size of the equipment, only one person can be carried at a time and only on a larger aircraft such as the Challenger 604. However, if permitted, travel with the EpiShuttle via an air ambulance can help to return you or a loved one back to their home country ready for treatment.

For more information, call IAS Medical on +44 800 7 999 900 or request a quote via our online form.