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Message from Minister for Health on coronavirus

13.03.2020

Salomón Nguema Owono began by stating that, to date, there were no cases of illness due to the coronavirus diagnosed. However, the risk was present, and it was necessary to continue to prepare with responsibility and vigilance.

“Prevention and control must begin in our houses, workplaces and schools; furthermore, we recommend that people do not leave the country and take a risk, taking into account the presence of this illness in many countries.

The first thing our population needs to know is that the new coronavirus has not entered the country, despite insinuations and comments on social media. We need the population to strictly comply with instructions; in that way we will be contributing towards controlling the illness.

I recall the importance of washing hands frequently with soap and water, and scrubbing them well in order to eliminate any dirt or trace of the virus, which is also susceptible to solutions of alcohol or sodium hypochlorite at 0.1% After washing the hands, also use hydroalcoholic gels as a disinfectant, which for surfaces should have a greater concentration of hypochlorite, at 0.5%. Another measure is to cover the mouth and nose with a handkerchief or the elbow when coughing or sneezing. This is effective in preventing the virus from spreading.

We can assure our people that if this virus enters the country we will report it immediately. Coronaviruses have existed since the seventies. They are a group of viruses that may live in both animals and humans, and previously affected the Arab peninsula and China in 2013. The current one, which causes the COVID-19 illness, is a new strain of coronavirus that was unknown.

The main symptoms are similar to flu, including fever, dry cough, tiredness or fatigue, and difficulty in breathing, which may signify a worsening of the illness. It causes muscle and throat pain, and diarrhoea.

Around 80% of cases have no symptoms, or present minor symptoms of the illness. Only 5% show more serious reactions. The elderly with the virus have more chance of developing the serious condition and are the patients most likely to die.

The incubation period can range from 1 to 14 days. Faced with the presence of any of the symptoms it is important not to delay, and to go to a hospital centre. It is essential to guarantee discipline regarding compliance with the health measures issued.

We have intensified measures at national territory entry points, we have defined the centres and hospitals that are going to be used in each of the provinces for the isolation and treatment of suspected or confirmed cases of the illness. We believe we are ready at this level to be able to provide assistance to patients in the chosen hospitals.

My recommendation to the people of Equatorial Guinea is not to be alarmed, as what is required is to be ready in order to prevent the spread of the illness".

On the photo: The Minister for Health during the press
conference


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