Stop the Spread: Do the Five

Follow the new WHO guidelines

Posted Mar 23, 2020

World Health Organization
Do The Five
Source: World Health Organization

The World Health Organization (WHO) has now shared five new practical steps for everyone to follow.

The World Health Organization is advising people to follow five simple steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19:

1. Wash your hands

  • after coughing or sneezing
  • when caring for the sick
  • before, during and after you prepare food
  • before eating
  • after toilet use
  • when hands are visibly dirty
  • after handling animals or animal waste

This step has repeatedly been argued for, but even though many have previously argued for its importance, it is no longer sufficient to contain the Coronavirus. In addition, the following steps should now be taken seriously:

2. Cough/sneeze into your elbow

  • Completely cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or a sleeve or flexed elbow when coughing or sneezing
  • Throw the used tissue into a closed bin immediately after use
  • Clean hands with soap and water or alcohol-based handrub after coughing or sneezing and when caring for the sick

3. Don't touch your face

4. Stay more than 3 feet (1 meter) away from others

5. Stay home if you feel sick

The last three are self-explanatory. By touching your face, the pathogens have an easy chance to infect you if they have made it onto your hands. Face-touching is a natural and often hard to avoid behaviour (think of dogs who receive an Elizabethan collar). This is why it is so important to wash your hands.

Physical distance, on the other hand, makes it much harder for pathogens to spread from one person to another. Indeed, in many areas, it is now wise to minimize physical proximity to anyone unless necessary. Quarantining has now been made obligatory by many countries, including heavy fines for anyone who violates the new rules.

Social distancing is hard. The usual lifestyle of many has now radically changed. Yet, there is no way to avoid this new status quo.  COVID-19 is now officially declared a global epidemic and requires radical global action to be overcome and avoid catastrophe.

The fifth advice of the WHO is thus too weak. Unless you need to buy food, medicine, or other necessary items you should self-isolate at home. Others on Psychology Today have written a number of helpful pieces on how to deal with this situation. If you have hardships with this situation do not hesitate to seek out further advice and support.

Nevertheless, it is important for everyone to follow the guidelines of the WHO, not only to protect yourself but also the most vulnerable in our society.

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