By Noreen Jazul
An official of the World Health Organization (WHO) urged the public to “stay calm” and educate themselves about the 2019 novel coronavirus acute respiratory disease (2019 nCoV ARD) through credible sources.
WHO Representative to the Philippines Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe told ANC Tuesday that false stories circulating on social media about nCoV are “not contributing to containing” the outbreak.
“What we’re advocating is to go to reliable information sources. Go to your department of health website or in social media platforms. Go to sources that are credible,” he said.
Abeyasinghe said what the public needs is “verified information” about the virus. “Stay calm. Your actions need to be dictated by evidence-based information.”
Abeyasinghe also debunked reports that persons with no signs and symptoms can infect others with the virus.
“That’s not true,” the health expert said.
“Most of the people who get infected, do get infected from people who have symptomatic disease, not from people who are not showing signs and symptoms.”
‘Hand washing a better preventive measure’
The WHO representative reiterated that masks have no “absolute guarantee” of preventing a person from acquiring the 2019 nCoV ARD.
“This only prevents you from inhaling the droplets and that’s important if you’re in close contact with people who have a disease,” Abeyasinghe said, adding that masks are important for health workers.
As for the general public, Abeyasinghe said it’s more important to observe hand hygiene.
“Wash your hands often, [don’t] touch your eyes and nose and mouth excessively,” he said.