13 ways to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

What is COVID-19? What is social distancing? This article describes 8 basic ways to limit potential exposure to COVID-19 and 5 extra suggestions related to mobile payments.

News & Updates
 Min read
May 3, 2021

You’ve probably been hearing a lot about Coronavirus (COVID-19) from the news, friends and family.

The constant flow of news, lockdowns and information can be overwhelming so we wanted to share some tips to help protect yourself from COVID-19.

The advice shared below is based primarily on the advice of leading health organizations and ministries worldwide. Reach out to us at info@bitbackapp.com if you have any questions about the content.

🚨Always refer to local and national health authorities for the most accurate and up-to-date suggestions and advice for your region.🚨

Background Info: What is a coronavirus and what is COVID-19? 

A coronavirus is a large family of viruses that can cause illness in animals or humans and is responsible for respiratory infections like the common cold, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). COVID-19 is the most recently discovered coronavirus disease (Source - WHO). 

In most people, COVID-19 causes mild flu-like symptoms like fever, tiredness and a dry cough. 80% of people recover without needing any treatment. About 1 of 6 people infected develop more serious symptoms like difficulty breathing or pneumonia. To date, there is no vaccine or medicine to prevent or treat COVID-19 so it is important to take the precautionary advice to prevent it from spreading.

You can catch COVID-19 from other people who have the virus. It spreads through tiny droplets containing the virus that land on surfaces and objects when someone with the virus coughs or sneezes. You can get COVID-19 by touching your eyes, mouth or face after touching a surface or object with the virus on it. You can also get COVID-19 by breathing in the droplets in the air after someone nearby coughs. The droplets can stay on a surface for a few hours up to several days which is why it is important to regularly clean surfaces with disinfectants.

What is social distancing and why is it important?

Slowing down the rate of new COVID-19 infections is critical to ensure that healthcare systems are not overwhelmed by large numbers of critically ill patients who require treatment and hospitalization. Social distancing is the act of minimizing close encounters with others to reduce the spread of the disease. This means limiting contact with people outside of your family and non-essential activities that require close contact with others (like going to the gym, coffee shops, malls, sporting events and so on).

Projections show that if we do not start intensely social distancing, hospitals will not be able to handle the projected number of patients.

Though social distancing necessitates less public interaction with others, it is an opportunity to do other things you haven't had time to like reading, board games or card games with family, and phone calls with family and friends to catch up.

8 basic ways to limit potential exposure to COVID-19

1. Frequently wash your hands with soap for 20 seconds or with an alcohol-based hand rub

Why? This kills viruses that may be on your hands.

2. Stop shaking hands or hugging when saying hello and greeting people

Why? If you or the other person has the virus on your hands or are infected with it, you could transfer it to them or they could transfer it to you.

3. Avoid touching eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands

Why? If your hands have come into contact with the virus, you can transfer it to your eyes, nose or mouth where it could enter your body and make you sick.

4. Distance yourself at least 1m (3 feet), preferably 2m (6 feet) from others, especially those who may be unwell

Why? Small droplets that may contain the virus can enter the air when someone sneezes or coughs. You could breath this in if too close to them.

5. Cover your mouth and nose with a bent elbow, your sleeve or a tissue if coughing or sneezing

Why? By covering your mouth and nose if sneezing or coughing, you can help prevent droplets that contain the virus from entering the air and infecting those around you.

6. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces (like doorknobs, handles, car doors, elevator buttons) 

Why? Frequently touched objects and surfaces could have trace amounts of the virus on them. By cleaning them frequently you reduce the risk that yourself and others come into contact with contaminated surfaces.

7. Seek medical care early if you are unwell with fever, cough and difficulty breathing

Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on the COVID-19 situation in your area. Call in advance so they can point you in the right direction.

8. Do not spit in public, find a place like a toilet or pit in which to spit

Why? This can spread droplets with the virus in public areas causing people to become infected.

5 extra tips about money, mobile payments and COVID-19

9. Clean your phone regularly 

Since your phone is a frequently touched item, it may have come into contact with virus or bacteria. It’s possible to carefully clean your smartphone or phone to remove virus or bacteria with household soap and water. Here’s a video from BBC on how to safely clean your smartphone:

10. Wash hands frequently after handling cash

It is possible that cash could have come into contact with someone who is infected with Coronavirus. The best advice? No matter what, if you’ve touched something, don’t touch your face, eyes, nose or mouth and  wash your hands. 

11. Use cashless payments when possible

To avoid potential exposure to a virus, cashless payments like mobile money payments could be used when possible at restaurants, grocery stores and other shops for payment.

12. Clean counter surfaces regularly 

If you are an agent, try to clean your mobile kiosk counter surfaces regularly and wash your hands frequently. 

13. Use cashless airtime top-ups when possible 

Top-up airtime via cashless methods when possible to avoid potential exposure to the virus.

Additional Resources

General Resources:

• World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

• Interactive Map by Johns Hopkins University: https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html

• Harvard Medical School Coronavirus Resource Center: https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/coronavirus-resource-center

By Country:

• 🇰🇪 Kenya: https://twitter.com/MOH_Kenya

• 🇺🇬 Uganda: https://twitter.com/MinofHealthUG

• 🇷🇼 Rwanda: https://twitter.com/RwandaHealth

• 🇹🇿 Tanzania: https://www.moh.go.tz/en/

• 🇪🇹 Ethiopia: https://twitter.com/FMoHealth

• 🇿🇦 South Africa: https://twitter.com/healthza

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