Arab Hygiene Council Urges Extra Vigilance To Safeguard Public Health in the Kingdom
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KSA, 24 June 2013–The Arab Hygiene Council is raising awareness of the possible need for increased levels of hygiene, as a preventative measure, in response to furtherreportsof the novel coronavirus (nCoV) in KSA.
Cases of nCoV first emerged in patients in health care facilities in Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Jordan in March 2012, and recently further cases have been seen in these countries as well as in the UK, United Arab Emirates and France, including some of the family members of infected patients.
Health and hygiene standards in schools and hospitals are quite important, Arab Hygiene Council member, Dr. Muhammad Halwani,Consultant in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology said: “Following the increased reports of cases of the nCoV in the Kingdom, we urge the public to become more vigilant when it comes to their personal hygiene practices.”
Whilst there is not yet evidence of the mechanism of transmission precisely of this strain (also known as a “SARS-like virus”), from person to person in the wider community, there is no vaccine currently available for nCoV, therefore sticking to the basic internationally known prevention measures is the key factor.
The advice from the AHC is particularly relevant as preparations for the holy month of Ramadan and Umrah begin. The transmission of respiratory infections and contamination food areincreasedpotential causes of outbreaks of diseases during mass gatherings such as Umrah trips. Following the recommended hand hygiene standards and respiratory etiquette such as regular hand washing with warm water and soap containing disinfectant and wearing masks, is imperative to reduce the spread of disease.
The Arab Hygiene Council outlined a number of useful preventative measures to be taken to reduce the spread of illness across homes, schools, hospitals and other public places:
- Avoid close contact with people who appear unwell especially with the ones who havesevere respiratory illness-like symptoms – i.e. cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.
- Practise good hand hygiene – wash your hands frequently with soap and water ensuring all of the surfaces of the hands are cleaned especially between the fingers and under the fingernails. Once washed, dry your hands thoroughly with a single use tissue paper.
- Practise cough etiquette:sneeze into your elbow rather than your hands, to minimise hand contamination. Or use tissue and throwthe used tissues away immediately and wash your hands to prevent spreading of the germs to others .
- Avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes with your hands especially if they are not cleaned.
- If soap and water is unavailable use a hand sanitizer.
- Regularly disinfect hand contact surfaces such as door handles, taps and light switches especially in work offices.