The coronavirus, which showed up in China’s Wuhan city late last year, has spread to more than 35 countries, killing more than 2,500 and sickening tens of thousands of people in a matter of weeks. The World Health Organization has declared the situation a global health emergency. For its part, Ibn Haldun University (IHU) held an awareness-raising seminar on Coronavirus (COVID-19). The coronavirus seminar was delivered by Dr. Ismail Erkam Tüzgen, Secretary General of IHU, on March 3, 2020 at Başakşehir Campus.
Dr. Tüzgen started his seminar by touching on the questions “Is Coronavirus temporary or permanent?” “Is it a natural mutation or a biological weapon?” “Which groups are most at risk from the coronavirus?” “Why did not it show up in Turkey?” “Are we ready to encounter the virus?” “How are we protected from the virus?”
“The studies of the Ministry of Health should be strictly followed”
Mentioning the symptoms of COVID-19, Dr. Erkam Tüzgen stated that common symptoms of infection are fever, cough and shortness of breath. He added that in more serious cases, pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death may be caused, but according to Tüzgen it is not correct to comment on the severity of the disease based on the available data. Stating that the Ministry of Health has prepared detailed studies to inform the public about COVID-19, Tüzgen recommended that documents containing important information on how to protect against epidemic and outbreak can be obtained through the website: https://hsgm.saglik.gov.tr/tr/bulasici-hastaliklar/2019-n-cov.html.
“The most effective measure is hand hygiene”
Dr Tüzgen indicated that personal hygiene plays an important role in protection against the virus and explained in detail what individual measures can be taken from wearing a mask to hand washing. He pointed out that the virus spreads by droplets from breathing, coughing and sneezing. “As our hands touch many surfaces, they can pick up microbes, including viruses. Then by touching contaminated hands to your eyes, nose or mouth, the pathogens can infect the body.”
Emphasized the importance of hand hygiene, Tüzgen stated that washing hands frequently by rubbing them with soap should not be less than 30 seconds. He said that this is actually the type of washing that should be promoted. Tüzgen said that in cases where washing is not possible, alcohol-based disinfectants can be used, and the face should not be touched with dirty hands and the faces of other people should not be touched.
He stressed the importance of avoiding crowded places and the use of masks in crowded environments when the disease reaches the epidemic level. And stated that the use of the wrong mask may be more dangerous than not wearing a mask and explained the correct use with various visuals.
“The claim that coronavirus is a biological weapon is not reasonable”
Stating that COVID-19 surfaced in a Chinese seafood and poultry market in December 31 last year, Dr. Tüzgen added “One of the world’s largest virology laboratories, The Wuhan Institute of Virology, is located in Wuhan. Based on this, some who accept the virus as a biological weapon claim that while trying to produce a virus in the laboratory in question, an error lead to the spread of the virus. However, “biological weapons” are likely to have high lethality and low human-to-human contagion. Otherwise, this disease can be transmitted to those who develop the ‘weapon’.”
“We are taking the necessary measures in our university against a possible outbreak in our country”
Dr. İsmail Erkam Tüzgen ended his speech by stating that IHU, as an institution, will continue taking steps and raising awareness in respect of personal hygiene besides working on what measures can be taken both in the education plan and at Turkey-wide in case the epidemic leaps to Turkey and evolves to an extraordinary dimension.
The program, which was attentively followed up, ended with a question-and-answer session.