Coronavirus: Expert answers all the most common questions on Covid-19 virus

27 February 2020, 15:35

With public awareness and anxiety at a high, Shelagh Fogarty was joined in the studio by a coronavirus expert who came to answer the UK's most urgent questions about the illness.

Dr. Lisa Ackerly, advisor to the Royal society for Public Health was on the line to Shelagh where she aimed to share her knowledge of coronavirus with the public and how we can help ourselves to prevent the spread of the disease.

Shelagh asked Dr. Ackerly some of the most common questions surrounding the virus in an attempt to reassure the public.

We can't be too relaxed about it, can we?

We shouldn't panic, but we can be prepared. We can continue with basic hygiene, washing our hands, using hand sanitiser but most importantly, keeping our hands away from our face as any surfaces we may come in contact with may carry the virus.

Can it survive on surfaces?

Yes. At the moment we aren't sure of how long the virus can last on surfaces but it could possibly live for up to 72 hours on surfaces, as opposed to 48 for the common flu. For this, we have to be sure to prevent the spread of the virus by sneezing into the crook of our arm, not in our hands, but if our hands are used we must be sure to sanitise.

Should I wipe surfaces I've not washed myself?

I usually bring a pack of wipes with me to wipe surfaces that may have been used by someone else. Although I encourage everyone to use sanitiser and to be careful around surfaces, we must be aware that there are a lot of people who don't wash their hands sufficiently or use sanitisers in public, so the rest of us must be extra vigilant.

What you're describing is being a level cleaner than we usually are?

Yes. We must be aware of all the natural things we currently do and the potential they have to spread coronavirus. We must take any and all opportunities to sterilise the environment around us.

What about face masks, are they pointless for coronavirus?

At this moment in time they are. The fact that we usually don't use them, people tend to use them incorrectly. Even so much as readjusting the mask itself can result in you giving the disease to yourself. The best instance for you to use the masks is in fact if you believe yourself to have symptoms of the virus as a method of combatting the spread.

Can you get coronavirus twice?

We don't know at the moment, the virus may mutate or you may get faded immunity.

Is it safe to travel abroad?

Keep an eye on the government website. Along with the advice of the authorities be aware of your own circumstances. Coronavirus is especially fatal to the elderly, infants and anyone with a compromised immune system so be aware of your own situation. Also be aware that you may end up in quarantine while away so be prepared to spend two weeks in isolation.

When is the next round of public information coming out?

Information is coming on a continuous stream. Once information that the public needs to know, there will be releases. There should also be information on washing hands after using public transport and during stays in public places.

Will public spaces close down if things get worse?

All we can do in this instance is to look at what has happened in countries that have been hit harder than us and be aware that this may happen in the UK. We're always learning new things about this virus and how we combat it will be constantly changing.

What's the one piece of advice to take away?

Wash your hands and avoid your face.