What is a coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a family of viruses, some of which only affect animals whilst others can also cause illness in humans. The most recently discovered coronavirus, COVID-19, causes coronavirus disease, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus, which became known in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.
Common symptoms include: aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. The virus is spread through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales.
What is the best way to respond to the Coronavirus?
Be Safe from the coronavirus infection by reducing the spread of the infection and your contact with harmful bacteria.
The World Health Organization suggests these 7 steps:
- Wash your hands frequently
- Avoid touching your eyes, mouth and nose
- Cover your cough with the inside of your elbow or a tissue
- Avoid crowded places
- Stay at home if you feel unwell – even if it’s a slight fever and cough
- If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early but call by phone first
- Stay aware of the latest information
Be Smart by staying informed about the latest updates by using trusted sources of information. The World Health Organization is regularly releasing updates and situation reports whilst national and local public health authorities are also issuing relevant and helpful advice.
Be Kind by supporting others. Do not stigmatize or discriminate against certain groups because of their ethnic background. In many contexts, persons who migrate to work, study or join their families are in good health and form a critical part of national communities, including health-care systems. Therefore, migrants, regardless of their legal status, should not be stigmatized or associated with the risk of importing diseases. In most cases, there is no direct connection to disease just because people may be migrants.
Be considerate of the needs of others and what you can do to help. Remember that, whilst you may not be a member of the most vulnerable populations for the virus, you can still play a part in reducing its spread by following the steps above.
How can COVID19 spread among migrants?
Conditions surrounding the migration process, not the individuals, such as barriers to health services, poor living and working conditions and exploitation, that can pose health risks. It is important that governments take a migrant-inclusive approach to ensure that all migrants regardless of their legal status, and other non-nationals, are considered in public health planning, response and messaging. This means: the use of adequate language, culturally appropriate recommendations and treatment modalities, and ensuring that all migrants, in regular or irregular situations, can access health services, without fear of stigma, arrest or deportation, among other things.
How has misinformation affected the outbreak?
“Our greatest enemy right now is not the coronavirus itself. It’s fear, rumours and stigma. And our greatest assets are facts, reason and solidarity,” according to Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization.
From a public health perspective, the risk of exclusion and stigmatization may result in migrants hiding in their symptoms rather than seeking treatment. This puts everyone at risk of getting sick. We can all play a role in identifying and challenging misinformation online, whilst sharing information from trustworthy sources, in order to reduce panic, xenophobia and the spread of misinformation.