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Coronavirus: How to protect yourself

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There are currently two presumptive cases of the new coronavirus in Ontario, something health officials say was “not unexpected.”

Over the weekend, Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said additional cases could occur in the near future. However, Tam said despite the presumptive cases, the risk to Canadians remains low.

So how can you protect yourself from contracting the virus, and what should you do if you show symptoms? Experts say it starts with good health hygiene.

Like with other viruses, it’s important to practise good handwashing to protect yourself from the new coronavirus.

The virus responsible for the recent outbreak, a new strain of coronavirus, has created alarm, though, because much about it is still unknown, including how dangerous it is and how easily it spreads between people.

READ MORE: Health officials urge Canadians to get coronavirus information from credible sources

Dr. Susy Hota, an associate professor with the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Medicine, said that to avoid transmitting the virus, people should wash their hands often — especially after using public transit or grocery shopping.

“Lots of people touch things, and you don’t know who is sick and who might have contaminated a surface,” Hota said.

“We also don’t know how long this virus can survive on surfaces, and that can vary depending on what type of surface it is.”

It is also a good idea to avoid touching your face, Hota said. She also recommends people cough or sneeze into their sleeves and stay home if they are sick.

Health officials have urged Canadians to practise good hygiene in order to limit the transmissions of all viruses — including the flu.

“Right now, there’s no advice for any other broader measures, like everyone should wear a mask or things like that,” Hota said. “There’s no need for it, and there’s no evidence if that even works.”

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