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5 facts that will make you feel better about COVID-19.

Right now, the world is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. But still, the overwhelming message from health authorities remains the same: don’t panic.

Because while the global threat posed by the Novel coronavirus is indeed a serious concern, it’s one that’s being addressed. Governments, health authorities, scientists, researchers, immigration officials, doctors, nurses and organisations all around the globe have dedicated themselves to minimising the impact of this Novel coronavirus.

As WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus reassured during a press conference on Wednesday, with this kind of coordinated response, the pandemic can — and will — be brought under control.

“Several countries have demonstrated that this virus can be suppressed… We’re in this together, to do the right things with calm and protect the citizens of the world. It’s doable.”

Watch: How to protect yourself from COVID-19 according to the World Health Organisation. 

Video by WHO

So, in the interest of spreading facts not fear, here are six things about COVID-19 to help you feel less concerned.

Containment is working.

For over a month now, nearly 60 million people have been in lockdown in China, subject to strict quarantine regulations, travel restrictions and health screening. As a result, the spread of COVID-19 in the country has dramatically slowed.

In late January, Chinese authorities were reporting more than 3,500 new cases every day. On Wednesday, there were just 26 — that’s it. In the central province of Hubei where the outbreak originated at the end of 2019, there were eight.

China is healing.

And it looks like another major epicentre could be doing the same: South Korea. The outbreak there originated largely from a megachurch in Daegu with roughly 200,000 members. But thanks to a comprehensive “trace, test and treat” policy by the Korean government, those who may have been exposed are being tracked down, isolated, their symptoms monitored and the people they’ve been in contact with notified.

As a result, the number of new cases is easing.

The overwhelming majority of infections are mild.

The Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention released a report based on 45,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases. It showed that 81 per cent of infections only involved mild symptoms. Only five per cent were critical, and 14 per cent were severe.

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Those with mild infections typically experience symptoms similar to a normal cold or flu and make a full recovery in just two weeks.

The survival rate is more than 97 per cent.

According to current data from the WHO, the case fatality rate of COVID-19 is approximately 3.6 per cent globally — meaning 96.4 per cent of diagnosed people make a full recovery.

In Australia, the survival rate is 97.7 per cent.

Listen: An infectious disease specialist answers your 20 most pressing questions about COVID-19. Post continues below.

You can help control its spread.

One of the best measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is also the easiest: hand hygiene.

That’s because it’s believed that the majority of cases are spread via small droplets of fluid from the nose and mouth of someone who is sick. Even if you’ve come into content with those droplets, you can easily protect yourself by regularly and thoroughly washing your hands.

It’s as simple as lathering your hands with soap for 20 seconds (the time it takes to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ twice), or a gel sanitiser with an alcohol content of 60 per cent or greater.

Other simple tips: avoid shaking hands or hugging when greeting people, and avoid touching your face.

Scientists and governments are preparing.

Researchers around the world are dedicating their skills and resources to a global effort to understand the virus and develop a COVID-19 vaccine. They’re learning more about how the virus behaves every single day and are sharing that knowledge with health authorities who are dealing with it on the ground.

Governments are implementing strict measures that aim to minimise the spread of COVID-19, including preventing travel from and to heavily affected areas, screening travellers at borders for signs of infection and cancelling large gatherings of people.

The Australian Government has enacted a response plan that will help to ensure that our healthcare system is as well equipped as possible to treat those in need, including securing an extra 54 million face masks for national medical stockpiles, which are expected to arrive by the end of April.

There’s also a $17.6 billion stimulus package to counter the economic fallout from the outbreak. Part of this includes tax relief for small businesses and one-off $750 cash payments to welfare recipients — pensioners, carers, veterans, families, young people and jobseekers — which will begin from March 31.

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