Coronavirus is an epidemic rapidly sweeping the globe, with over 45,000 cases now confirmed worldwide. The disease, which began in the Chinese city of Wuhan, has now spread to 28 countries including the UK. The most recent case was confirmed in London causing some panic about the spread of the disease throughout the capital.
Doctors have since warned that the London Underground could become a “hotbed” for the coronavirus.
Meanwhile, travellers jetting off on international trips are being advised to follow the advice of health professionals.
However, Dr Carmen Dolea, Head International Health Regulations Secretariat says travellers should not cancel any impending plans.
Instead, the experts recommend some basic measures that can be taken to reduce the risk of infection.
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So far, the virus is thought to be transmitted by droplets which means close contact with people that are infected. It is also possible that the virus can live on surfaces, but only for a short amount of time.
Dr Dolea also says that being within an airline cabin should not be dangerous, so long as cabin crew and passengers are following the correct guidelines.
She also discusses says travellers staying in hotel rooms should take similar measures.
“Wash hands properly, use alcohol-based hand rub, make sure that the food hygiene practises are taken into account,” continues Dr Dolea.
“There is no specific requirement for being in a hotel than being in any other place while being a traveller.
“Similar protection for regular people or travellers have to be taken for any other type of respiratory infections as we have mentioned before.”
Along with using appropriate hand washing etiquette, Dr Dolea also highlights how masks can be used – but she points out that they won’t necessarily protect you from picking up coronavirus.
She says: “The masks are very effective for protecting people that are sick, for preventing them to transmit the virus onward. For people that are not sick masks are not very effective.
“It is almost important to ensure that you are using the masks properly and make sure not to touch the exterior of the mask even if you are not sick.
“The masks are also important for people that are caring for sick people.
“It will be important that people who most need the masks have access.”
In Asia there have been reports of a shortage of masks, meanwhile, globes and hand sanitisers sold out.
Experts in the UK now fear that the virus could spread rapidly if people do not take hygiene precautions seriously.
Dr Robin Thompson of Oxford University spoke to the Evening Standard and warned that London’s bustling transit system could be a major risk factor. “In general, if an initial case is in a densely populated area, then the risk of sustained person-to-person transmission following is higher”, he said.
He pointed out that the underground could provide a “network to spread the virus.”
Following the latest diagnosis, he said: “it might be expected that there is an increased risk posed by this case compared to the others we have seen.”