The Government of Canada is asking all Canadians currently returning from any travel abroad to self-isolate for 14 days.
The request has been issued in order to help limit the spread of COVID-19, which is transmittable even by some people who are not experiencing any symptoms.
By the federal government’s description, self-isolation involves not leaving home unless “absolutely necessary,” such as seeking medical care.
The virus that causes COVID-19 is spread through airborne droplets by coughing or sneezing, through touching a surface those droplets have touched, or through personal contact with infected people.
Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly
The World Health Organization recommends regular hand-washing and physical distancing – that is, keeping at least two metres from someone with a cough. If you have to cough or sneeze, do it into your sleeve or a tissue, not your hands. Avoid touching your eyes, mouth or nose if you can.
The CDC says to frequently clean dirty surfaces with soap and water before disinfecting them.
- If you show symptoms of COVID-19, seek medical attention and do what your health-care provider recommends. That may include staying home from work or school and getting lots of rest until the symptoms go away.
COVID-19 is much more serious for older adults. As a precaution, older adults should continue frequent and thorough hand-washing, and avoid exposure to people with respiratory symptoms.
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Expectations for returning travellers and others who are self-isolating include:
- Staying home from work and school (where schools are still open);
- Avoiding public transportation;
- Arranging to have supplies such as groceries dropped off at their doors;
- Especially avoiding elderly people and anyone with compromised immune systems or chronic conditions;
- Keeping any unavoidable interactions with other people brief, maintaining at least two metres’ distance from them and wearing a mask.
Advice for enhanced hygiene measures within the home by those who are self-isolating include:
- Frequently washing their hands, using soap and water, for at least 20 seconds, or removing dirt with a wet wipe and then using alcohol-based hand sanitizer;
- Avoiding touching their faces;
- Coughing and sneezing only into the bend of their arm or a tissue;
- Cleaning and disinfecting at least once daily the surfaces they touch frequently, using regular household disinfectants or diluted bleach;
- Avoiding sharing personal items with others living in the same residence;
- Closing the toilet lid before flushing;
- Carefully disposing contaminated items that can’t otherwise be cleaned along with other household waste.
Those in self-isolation are advised to get lots of rest and eat a balanced diet. They are to monitor themselves for symptoms and immediately get in touch with their health-care provider or with public-health authorities if those symptoms worsen.
The government’s call for returning travellers to self-isolate was made this weekend, as Ottawa also encouraged Canadians currently abroad to swiftly make arrangements to return home, owing to the prospect of coming flight cancellations.
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