COVID-19 Sensitization

BDF Media Release| 18 Mar 2020

Photography credit: Able Bodied Seaman Bryan T

The Barbados Defence Force (BDF) conducted a COVID – 19 sensitization briefing with its members in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Port Health Medical Officer, Dr. R.A. Manohar Singh MD, Dip. Chest & Lep, Dip.  Cmed, Dip. HSM, MPH. COVID – 19 is a new strain of the novel Corona virus, identified in January by the Chinese authorities, not previously identified in humans. Dr. Singh reminded the Command and Staff of the BDF that although the virus was first discovered in Wuhan China, it has affected every continent and is rapidly spreading.

Coronaviruses are said to be a family of viruses that cause illness ranging from common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). They can also lead to pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death. These viruses were originally transmitted between animals and people. Dr. Singh advised at the possibility that the main cause of the virus’ spread, is due to the illegal trading of live food in Wuhan Food Markets, known to sell over 112 live animals.

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The members of the BDF were also informed that the symptoms of the novel coronavirus are:

1. Fever

2. Cough

3. Shortness of breath/breathing difficulties.

4. Aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea.

Dr Singh cautioned that while these symptoms may seem easy to detect as they are mostly external they are also mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don’t feel unwell. However, about 80% of persons infected without the need for any special treatment. It was recommended that persons with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should see medical attention especially older persons, and those underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes are most likely to develop serious illness. This virus can lead to pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is working closely with global experts, governments and partners to rapidly expand scientific knowledge on this new virus, to track the spread and virulence of the virus, and to provide advice to countries and individuals on measures to protect health and prevent the spread of this outbreak. WHO has set out the following guidelines as safety precautions from COVID – 19.

1.     Travellers arriving from a country of a concern you must inform the port of Entry officer.

2.     In the case of symptoms suggestive of acute respiratory illness either during or after travel, the travelers are encouraged to seek medical attention immediately and share their travel history with their health care provider.

3.     Maintain social distancing.

4.     Wash your hands frequently.

5.     Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.

6.     Practice respiratory hygiene