Coronavirus & Don’t Forget to Wash your Hands

Coronavirus & Don't Forget to Wash your Hands

ALL THIS TALK on the news and well, everywhere of washing hands, and the stockpiling of hand soaps and sanitizers has us beginning to wonder if anyone ever washed their hands before all of this? As a lifelong germaphobe, washing hands has always been second nature, but perhaps even more so now. Everyday there is news of new cases of Covid-19, the entire country of Italy is in lockdown, the US have cancelled all flights from Europe (excluding here), Ireland has shut all of their schools, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson have tested positive; our old home city of Valencia has cancelled the Fallas (which is a really big deal) and it’s becoming more difficult not to panic now. (Especially if you’ve been keeping track of the situation around the world through this chart.)

When you consider this scenario: if someone who has the virus uses a cash machine before you, it’s possible for the virus to contaminate the machine, and survive on that surface for an entire 72 hours, all while being passed on to your bank card, as well as the cash you’ve just withdrawn. Given this reality, washing your hands (for at least 20 seconds) seems like a perfectly logical thing to do.

We know you’ve probably googled everything there is to know about COVID-19 now, but just in case, here are a few facts, as well as a gentle reminder to wash your hands!


Friday, 13 March, 2020 – What a difference a day makes: we awoke this morning to news that the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s wife, Sophie, has tested positive for coronavirus; many major sporting events have been postponed, including all Champions League and Europa League games; Italy’s virus death toll passes 1,000 and the chief medical officer has died; France closes all schools and daycare centres and may even shut the country’s borders to control coronavirus; Denmark, like Italy, is now under domestic lockdown.

Coronavirus & Don't Forget to Wash your Hands


Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans.  In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The most recently discovered coronavirus causes coronavirus disease COVID-19.


COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. This new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.


The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don’t feel unwell. Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment. Around 1 out of every 6 people who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness. People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention.


People can catch COVID-19 from others who have the virus. The disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales. These droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person. Other people then catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. People can also catch COVID-19 if they breathe in droplets from a person with COVID-19 who coughs out or exhales droplets. This is why it is important to stay more than 1 meter (3 feet) away from a person who is sick.


Studies to date suggest that the virus that causes COVID-19 is mainly transmitted through contact with respiratory droplets rather than through the air.

Coronavirus & Don't Forget to Wash your Hands


Stay aware of the latest information on the COVID-19 outbreak available on the WHO website and through your national and local public health authority. Many countries around the world have seen cases of COVID-19 and several have seen outbreaks. Authorities in China and some other countries have succeeded in slowing or stopping their outbreaks. However, the situation is unpredictable so check regularly for the latest news.

You can reduce your chances of being infected or spreading COVID-19 by taking some simple precautions:

Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.

Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing. When someone coughs or sneezes, they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.

Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth. Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you ill.

Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with tissue when you cough or sneeze, or with your bent elbow if you do not have tissue. Dispose of the used tissue immediately.

Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority. National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on the situation in your area. Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also protect you and help prevent spread of viruses and other infections.

Keep up to date on the latest COVID-19 hotspots (cities or local areas where COVID-19 is spreading widely). If possible, avoid traveling to places–especially if you are an older person or have diabetes, heart or lung disease.