The global spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is keeping the public steady on their toes and reasonably concerned about their health and well being.
Since news broke of a new deadly virus that’s plaguing humanity, public spaces are relatively emptier, protective facial masks are sold out at the stores, and products such as hand sanitizers and disinfectant sprays are harder and harder to come by.
And as the number of COVID-19 infections in Malaysia surpasses well over 100 cases, we began seeing several offices, buildings and businesses being temporarily closed and their workers sent away for self-quarantine to stop the spread of the viral contagion.
Though it’s always a good thing to be cautious when dealing with outbreaks of infectious disease, experts note that some of the steps being taken by Malaysians in trying to stop the spread of COVID-19 might have gone a little overboard.
No need to panic
Despite the growing number of infections both in the country and around the world, health professionals maintain the stance that the COVID-19 outbreak has yet to reach pandemic proportions and that the most basic “best practices” are able to contain its spread.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the chances of you getting infected with COVID-19 is still relatively low, unless you’ve either travelled to an area where the coronavirus is spreading, or had contact with someone positive for the infection.
Meanwhile, Malaysia’s Director-General of Health Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah made it a point to inform the public that it was unnecessary to shut down places and premises with known COVID-19 cases.
According to the good doctor, a regiment of disinfecting and cleaning procedures where someone who’s infected with COVID-19 had been would suffice at ensuring that these spaces remain clear.
Scientists conclude that one of the most effective ways to counter the spread of microbial diseases such as COVID-19 is through the act of maintaining good hygiene by disinfecting and cleaning frequently touched surfaces and areas thoroughly and regularly.
This easy process of “keeping things clean” has been implemented in most public places like hospitals, airports, government buildings, public transportation and even in shopping malls accross Malaysia and the world in order to contain COVID-19.
Pray for my dad and all their cleaning staff at Hospital Sungai Buloh, Selangor from infection of Coronavirus ..— FarisMahadi (@mdfar8_) January 26, 2020
Siapa kata yang kerja cleaner ni mudah je, time kena mcm ni sangat mencabar bagi mereka..#coronavirus #nCoV pic.twitter.com/w9PeFWzYq5
To kill a microbe
COVID-19 can easily spread between people through close contact with one another or through environmental transmission via respiratory droplets or bodily fluids produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or even breathes.
Infections can happen as easily as touching or coming in contact with a contaminated surface or object, and touching your own face, eyes, nose and mouth after.
However, just like any other microorganism such as bacteria, archaea or fungi. Viruses are relatively easy to kill when it is exposed outside of the body of a host.
According to the WHO, COVID-19 can survive between a few hours to several days on any given surface, depending on what kind of surface it is as well as the temperature and humidity of the object in question.
These contaminated items can be simply disinfected through the use of chemicals such as alcohol, bleach, or household antimicrobial agents and cleaning products.
Keeping things clean
As we’ve already established that COVID-19 can be killed through basic hygiene practices, here’s a quick and simple guide on how you can properly clean and disinfect your home, offices or businesses from contamination.
- Cleaning surfaces
Simple low-cost measures can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in your home and workplace.
Start by ensuring that you have the appropriate protective gear on so that you don’t get yourself infected when you’re busying with the “spring cleaning” routine. Have disposable gloves, surgical masks and to be super safe, disposable gowns or aprons available during the cleaning process, and to only use disposable cleaning materials such as single-use sponges, rags and towels.
You can begin by cleaning the most “high-touch” surfaces and items around you like the desks and tables, doorknobs, light switches and electronic devices, and even the sink and toilets, before moving on to other areas around the house or workplace.
Also, remember to clean and disinfect areas in or on your personal vehicles too.
If the particular surface or item is dirty or dustier than usual, then try and clean it using detergent or soap and water before you begin wiping it down with disinfectants.
Any household disinfectants and antimicrobial cleaners will do fine to rid of contamination. But, do make sure that the product you’re using has not expired.
You can also prepare your own disinfecting solution by mixing 5 tablespoons of bleach per gallon of water. This works pretty well at killing those pesky germs and viruses.
Wipe each and every surface thoroughly, at least twice daily to ensure the best protection for yourself and the people around you and remember to not touch your face, eyes, mouth and nose, and to immediately wash after cleaning.
For soft and porous surfaces like carpets, rugs and drapes, use the appropriate cleaners and detergents available for them or simply toss em’ into the washing machine or send them away to be professionally cleaned.
- Cleaning clothing and textiles
Textiles and clothing materials can be washed as per usual. However, it’s best to use the warmest appropriate wash and dry settings available on your machines to ensure that you properly decontaminate the clothing.
When putting clothing into the washer, try not to shake the laundry too much to minimise the possibility of dispersing contagions through the air and to always clean and disinfect your hampers and laundry baskets after.
And laundry from patients infected with COVID-19 can be mixed and washed together with other people’s items without any fear of cross-contamination.
Paranoia and fear are natural human responses that no one should feel embarrassed about.
But just remember that a lil’ common sense and some good ole’ fashion hygiene is more than enough to keep you and your loved ones protected from illness.
Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Akmal returns to the newly improved TRP to uncover cold truths and walk the fine line between deep and dumb.