Summary: 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.
Victoria University has issued guidelines to its students and public to ensure that they safeguard themselves from the deadly coronavirus.
In a notice from the university’s faculty of health sciences, students are told to wash their hands regularly with an alcoholic-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.
“Make sure that you and the people around you follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your hand elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose all the used tissue immediately,” the Ugandan university advised.
“Maintain at least one metre distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.” The notice adds.
Victoria is the first university in Uganda to issue a public notice to its students and staff warning them about the epidemic which has locked down the entire global economy. There are over 50 universities in Uganda.
So far there are more than 100 cases recorded in 12 countries in Africa, according to the latest figures from the World Health Organization. The numbers are not scary as has been the case in China where the virus started last December, before ravaging other countries such as Italy, France, South Korea, Iran, USA among others.
Egypt remains the African nation with the most reported cases with 59, more than half of all confirmed cases on the continent.
Hope other universities across the country borrow leaf from Victoria University so that they ensure safety of their students.