EDITORIAL: Protection from coronavirus: Down to basics

Saturday March 14 2020


Several hand washing units have been installed in the main Commuters park in Nyabugogo and Downtown for passengers. Photo | Cyril NDEGEYA  

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Rwanda has not reported a single case of Covid-19 infection, but infections are increasing on the continent – in Nigeria, Algeria, Cameroun, South Africa and more closer home DRC.

Recently, President Paul Kagame chaired an extraordinary Cabinet meeting, which reaffirmed the government’s “strengthened approach to contain the potential spread of the Coronavirus” in the country.

The CDC states that coronaviruses are commonly spread from an infected person to others through: the air by coughing and sneezing, close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands, touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands.

The best way to protect yourself is to avoid being exposed to the virus. The CDC always recommends avoiding close contact with people who are sick, avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser, clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Cover your cough or sneeze, with a tissue, then throw it in the trash. Be responsible, stay home when you are sick.  As with all infectious diseases, good hygiene can play a role in controlling its spread.


However, the most important public health recommendation is that people report to the nearest health facility if they develop any symptoms indicative of coronavirus.

Good personal hygiene is important for both health and social reasons. It entails keeping your hands, head and body clean so as to stop the spread of germs and illness.

Your personal hygiene benefits your own health and impacts the lives of those around you, too. The social benefits associated with personal habits must also be considered.

The first place to start with your personal hygiene routine is your hands. We use our hands constantly during the day, touching many different surfaces, shaking hands with people, eating our meals, typing on the laptop or using a common telephone at work, or even playing at school.

Naturally, our hands are the biggest carriers of germs. One of the quickest and simplest ways to ensure that your family is safe from illness is to practice good hand hygiene.

It can keep illnesses such as cold, cough and flu (these can all be contracted or passed on through poor hand hygiene) at bay. You can stop the spread of illness-causing germs by washing your hands frequently with water and soap.

Personal hygiene also includes bathing daily - at least twice a day, cleaning your teeth at least twice a day, washing the clothes you wear after each use so that these germs and impurities are removed. Personal hygiene is not difficult.

Once you have a personal hygiene routine in place, it becomes a habit in no time.