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What you need to know about COVID-19

Below are some questions answered by Dr. Leong Hoe Nam, Infectious Disease Specialist, from Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital, Singapore.

How does COVID-19 spread?

Much like familiar cold viruses or influenza, COVID-19 spreads primarily by respiratory droplets, which come out through saliva or when we sneeze. It is not in the air.

What treatments exist to help COVID-19 patients?

Most of the time, supportive care (i.e. adequate hydration, food and oxygen when needed) will work for more than 90% of patients.

Is it possible to contract COVID-19 from someone who is not showing symptoms?

Those with no symptoms are less likely to have nasal discharge or cough, and are hence less likely to transmit the virus. In truth, we suspect the actual risk to be very low.

How can I protect myself from the virus?

Wash with your hands with soap and water before touching your face. If you are unwell, put on a surgical mask.

Will the coming warmer weather make a difference?

We realise from SARS studies that the virus does not like hot weather and humidity. As the months get warmer and more humid, the survival of the virus will be poorer, resulting in poorer transmission person to person.

Can I contract COVID-19 from swimming?

No. Contact with water would kill the virus. Adequately chlorinated water in pools is known to kill most respiratory viruses.­­­

Is my online shopping package safe to handle?

When the packages travel, even through China or any infected country, the long process and exposure to the sun would have destroyed the virus.

Should I be worried if I live near a quarantine site?

No. The virus can only spread by droplets. The virus does not go into the air. You cannot breathe it in.

Should I avoid private-hire vehicles and taxis?

As I enter the vehicle, I would request for the windows to be wound down. This way, air is allowed to move in and out of the vehicle, which would quickly dilute the virus and make it negligible.

Should my child avoid extracurricular activities, like dance class?

If precautionary measures like temperature-taking and checks for respiratory symptoms are taken, it is ok. The chances of getting the virus are low. Go for the class and enjoy yourself.

What other tips do you have?

Take note of your mobile phone which we use so regularly. Clean it with a piece of alcohol wipe, at least three times a day. Avoid shaking hands. Try alternatives like a good wave or a simple bow.


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