Liberia and perhaps the world at large never knew much about the new Coronavirus until the international media started showing images of people dropping dead in the streets of China’s Wuhan City a fortnight ago. Although it’s been like a month, yet everyone remains confused, edgy and suspicious of one another. With rumors about the Coronavirus now crossing the boundaries of China into Europe and at least an isolated case in Africa, Liberians have become more jittery, with many making up their versions of how the Coronavirus has crept into our borders unnoticed. But as the Ministry of Health (MoH) and its major implementing partner, the National Public Health Institute in Liberia (NPHIL) state, Coronavirus is not in Liberia.
According to the latest message from the MoH and the NPHIL, coronavirus is NOT in Liberia and nobody is sick in Liberia as a result of coronavirus.
“Health workers are at the borders, airports and seaports to check people who are coming in our country from other countries. For more information call 4455,” the message from government’s health authorities stated.
MoH and NPHIL clarification comes against the backdrop of rumors engulfing Monrovia that there are some Chinese in Liberia currently quarantined at a special location on the Bushrod Island; while other information has it that people who have arrived in the country from other countries are being quarantined for a specified time at another location along the Roberts Field Highway.
The Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.
Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people. Detailed investigations found that SARS-CoV was transmitted from civet cats to humans and MERS-CoV from dromedary camels to humans. Several known coronaviruses are circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans.
Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.
Standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, thoroughly cooking meat and eggs. Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.