Situational Awareness: Risk Exposure during Traveling

People always say to live with no excuses and travel with no regrets. However, what people seem to forget is that along with the exposure to the whole lot of fun — including meeting new people and refreshing the eyes — comes an equally big, but much more ignored, opportunity to be more susceptible to unfortunate events such as accidents or diseases. For instance, when the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus of the coronavirus family first broke out in China in 2002, authorities played them down. It is due to this negligence that the virus ended up spreading to at least 37 other countries, affecting more than 8,000 people, and killing more than 750. What seemed to be the eradication of this family of virus has apparently turned out to be a mere dormancy, as just last month, the first case of a new coronavirus, currently named 2019-nCoV, was reported.

This coronavirus was first detected last month in the central Chinese city of Wuhan and has since spread beyond China. Infected places include Chinese provinces such as Hubei, Zhejiang and Guangdong, as well as the capital city Beijing itself. Cases have also been reported in Thailand, Japan, and South Korea as of today. Just like SARS and MERS, the new coronavirus causes pneumonia. Infected individuals are reported to suffer coughs, sore throat, possibly a headache, and also fever that lasts for a couple of days and breathing difficulties due to runny nose. Human to human transmission, such as droplets in a cough, has been confirmed. But just like the other viruses of the same family, they all came from animals, as seen from how most of those first infected either worked or frequently shopped in the Huanan seafood wholesale market in the center of the Chinese city. As this is a virus, antibiotics prove to be of no use. WHO stated that 17,391 people are globally confirmed in total cases and numbers in the past 24 hours.

As of this moment, there has yet to be a vaccine to protect against this family of viruses. The risk of vulnerability, however, could be reduced by avoiding people who are sick. Try not to touch the eyes, nose, and mouth. Wash your hands with soap and water frequently, for at least 20 seconds. Awareness is key. If you are sick and have reason to believe that the Wuhan coronavirus may be due to traveling to the region or coming in contact with someone who has been there, you should let a health care provider know about it and seek treatment early. If you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose and clean the objects and surfaces that you touch. If you’re heading to China, be mindful of the signs and avoid the live animal markets, where the outbreak first started. 

It comes as a relief, however, that despite the spread of a new virus, we live in an era where information transmits even more quickly. It is with this article that we hope to not induce fear, but instead raise awareness of the urgency and significance in even the smallest of participation in caring for hygiene, both for our, and others’ health.


1. Neil Ferguson, professor of mathematical biology at Imperial College London, has remarked that the Wuhan coronavirus fatality rate is lower than for SARS and MERS, but is comparable to the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic.

2. Victims of the coronavirus have mostly been elder people, with only a few cases affecting younger children.

3. Getting the proper and necessary vaccine before traveling is crucial. For instance, The United States has had more than 1,000 cases of measles in 2019, which is the greatest number of cases reported in the U.S. since 1992 and since measles was declared eliminated in 2000.


1. https://thehill.com/changing-america/well-being/prevention-cures/479233-growing-concerns-about-the-new-sars-like-virus

2. https://www.hongkongfp.com/2020/01/22/breaking-first-case-sars-like-virus-hong-kong-source/

3. https://www.theguardian.com/science/2020/jan/22/what-is-coronavirus-wuhan-china

4. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/22/coronavirus-china-measures-rein-spread-mutate-disease-death-toll

5. https://edition.cnn.com/2020/01/20/health/what-is-coronavirus-explained/index.html

6. https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/why-vaccinate/vaccine-decision.html

7. https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/situation-reports/20200203-sitrep-14-ncov.pd

Designed by: Nada,Vanessa (MCA Team CIMSA Indonesia 2019-2020)

Contents: Bertha (MCA Team CIMSA Indonesia 2019-2020)

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