Novel coronavirus (44) Healthcare information for the general public (3)

23 February, 2020

Further to my message just now on care-seeking advice from the WHO website [ here is the official advice being given in the UK, US, and China.

1. Current advice for the public in the UK: 'Chief Medical Officers are advising anyone who has travelled to the UK from mainland China, Thailand, Japan, Republic of Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia or Macau in the last 14 days and is experiencing cough or fever or shortness of breath, to stay indoors and call NHS 111, even if symptoms are mild.'

2. Current advice in the US: 'If you were in China in the last 14 days and feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, you should:

Seek medical advice – Call ahead before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room. Tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.'

3. Current advice in China (National Health Commission of the Republic of China): 'Seek prompt medical attention if you have symptoms of fever and repsiratory infection'

The China site also states: 'Wearing a mask is one of the most effective ways to protect you from getting infected'. On the wearing of masks, the WHO website says:

'Wearing a medical mask can help limit the spread of some respiratory disease. However, using a mask alone is not guaranteed to stop infections and should be combined with other prevention measures including hand and respiratory hygiene and avoiding close contact – at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and other people.

'WHO advises on rational use of medical masks thus avoiding unnecessary wastage of precious resources and potential misuse of masks (see Advice on the use of masks). This means using masks only if you have respiratory symptoms (coughing or sneezing), have suspected 2019-nCoV infection with mild symptoms or are caring for someone with suspected 2019-nCoV infection. A suspected 2019-nCoV infection is linked to travel in an area in China where 2019-nCoV has been reported, or close contact with someone who has traveled from China and has respiratory symptoms.'


Best wishes, Neil

Coordinator, HIFA Project on Information for Citizens, Parents and Children

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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - ), a global community with more than 19,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: neil AT