World Health Organisation debunk 13 myths about how to beat coronavirus

The World Health Organisation [WHO] has debunked a number of myths about how to beat coronavirus.

They have warned that spraying yourself with chlorine or using hand dryers won't kill the deadly bug.

It comes as China announced the number of new coronavirus cases in China fell on Sunday and a health official said intense efforts to stop its spread were beginning to work.

China's latest figures showed 68,500 cases of the illness and 1,665 deaths, most of them in Hubei.

The National Health Commission reported on Sunday 2,009 new cases, down from 2,641 the previous day, and 142 new deaths, just one lower than the 143 on the previous day.


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All but four of the new deaths were in Hubei.

The WHO's guidance comes after a coronavirus expert warned that the spread of misinformation and conspiracy theories could lead to more cases in the UK.

Professor Paul Hunter, of the University of East Anglia's (UEA) Norwich Medical School, said fake news leads to bad advice and people taking "greater risks" during health crises.

NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said on Thursday that many more people in the UK may need to self-isolate to contain the illness, which has been officially named Covid-19.

1. Hand dryers will not kill coronavirus

While people have been told to make sure to wash their hands regularly, using handryers will not the kill the virus.

Rumours had been circulating that using a dryer for 30 seconds would zap the virus but that alone won't do it.

The WHO said: "To protect yourself against the new coronavirus, you should frequently clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.

"Once your hands are cleaned, you should dry them thoroughly by using paper towels or a warm air dryer."


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2. UV lamps can't sterilise your skin

Ultraviolet lamps should not be used to sterilize hands or other areas of skin as UV radiation can cause skin irritation, he WHO said.

UV lamps are often used by hospitals and labs to kill microbes, but are never used around humans.

3. Spraying alcohol or chlorine on your body won't get rid of virus

Spraying alcohol or chlorine all over you will not kill viruses that have already entered your body, the WHO warns.

While disinfectants can kill the coronavirus on surfaces, these chemicals should not be used on the skin

"Spraying such substances can be harmful to clothes or mucous membranes (i.e. eyes, mouth).

"Be aware that both alcohol and chlorine can be useful to disinfect surfaces, but they need to be used under appropriate recommendations."

4. Eating garlic won't prevent you from being infected with coronavirus

While eating garlic can help to treat the common cold, it won't stop you from being infected with coronavirus.

One viral post did claim that eating a bowl of boiled garlic could cure the virus – it was later blocked on Facebook for being "factually inaccurate".

Garlic does have some antimicrobial properties but there is no evidence from the current outbreak that eating it has protected people from the new coronavirus.

5. Sesame oil won't block coronavirus from entering your body

Putting sesame oil on your body won't block the coronavirus from entering your body.

"There are some chemical disinfectants that can kill the 2019-nCoV on surfaces. These include bleach/chlorine-based disinfectants, either solvents, 75% ethanol, peracetic acid and chloroform," the WHO said.

"However, they have little or no impact on the virus if you put them on the skin or under your nose. It can even be dangerous to put these chemicals on your skin."

6. Pets can't catch coronavirus

At present, there is no evidence that companion animals/pets such as dogs or cats can be infected with the new coronavirus, according to the WHO.

There had been reports of people in China abandoning their pets or throwing cats and dogs out of windows to their death over fears they could spread the virus. 

The WHO adds: "However, it is always a good idea to wash your hands with soap and water after contact with pets. This protects you against various common bacteria such as E.coli and Salmonella that can pass between pets and humans."

7. Thermal scanners won't always detect people with the virus

Thermal scanner are currently being used at airports, train stations and other public places to detect those with a high temperature.

While these scanners after effective in detecting people who have developed a fever because of infection with the new coronavirus – it won't pick up those yet to display symptoms.

The WHO said: "They cannot detect people who are infected but are not yet sick with fever.

"This is because it takes between 2 and 10 days before people who are infected become sick and develop a fever."

8. Letters and packages from China don't carry coronavirus

Packages coming for China are safe.

The WHO says people receiving packages from China are not at risk of contracting the new coronavirus.

"From previous analysis, we know coronaviruses do not survive long on objects, such as letters or packages," they said.

9. Pneumonia vaccines don't protect you against coronavirus

Scientists are working on a vaccine for COVID-19 but one is currently not available.

Vaccines against pneumonia, such as pneumococcal vaccine and Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) vaccine, do not provide protection against the new coronavirus, the WHO says.

"The virus is so new and different that it needs its own vaccine. Researchers are trying to develop a vaccine against 2019-nCoV, and WHO is supporting their efforts.

"Although these vaccines are not effective against 2019-nCoV, vaccination against respiratory illnesses is highly recommended to protect your health."

10. Rinsing your nose with saline won't help prevent infection with the new coronavirus

There is no evidence that regularly rinsing the nose with saline has protected people from infection with the new coronavirus, the WHO warns.

There is some limited evidence that regularly rinsing nose with saline can help people recover more quickly from the common cold.

However, regularly rinsing the nose has not been shown to prevent respiratory infections.

11. Young people can be infected with coronavirus

People of all ages can be infected by the new coronavirus. Older people, and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease) appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus. 

WHO advises people of all ages to take steps to protect themselves from the virus, for example by following good hand hygiene and good respiratory hygiene.

There is no evidence that using mouthwash will protect you from infection with the new coronavirus, the WHO says.

Some brands or mouthwash can eliminate certain microbes for a few minutes in the saliva in your mouth. However, this does not mean they protect you from 2019-nCoV infection.

13. Antibiotics won't kill coronavirus

The WHO warns antibiotics don't work against coronavirus.

Only bacterial infections, and not viruses, can be treated by antibiotics.

"If you are hospitalized for the 2019-nCoV, you may receive antibiotics because bacterial co-infection is possible," the WHO says.

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