Nearly two years into the coronavirus pandemic, COVID-19 cases are surging in some parts of the world as more transmissible variants become dominant. The Ministry of Health said it is therefore essential to be vaccinated as soon as you can and to continue the protective measures that also help to prevent transmission.
With the holiday season approaching, here are six ways to keep ourselves and the people around us safe from COVID-19. 
 
Get vaccinated
Approved COVID-19 vaccines provide a high degree of protection against serious illness or death from the disease, although they do not fully prevent transmission.
The World Health Organisation believes that everyone everywhere should have access as quickly as possible to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines, starting with those at higher risk of infection including frontline health and care workers and those at highest risk of serious disease or death.
People over age 60, pregnant women, and people with underlying conditions like high blood pressure, lung and heart disease, diabetes, obesity or cancer, should prioritise getting vaccinated.

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Wear a mask
Masks help stop the spread of the virus. To make masks as effective as possible, clean your hands before you put your mask on, as well as before and after you take it off, and after you touch it at any time.
And also make sure it covers your nose, mouth and chin. When you take off a mask, store it in a clean bag. Wash fabric masks daily and dispose of used medical masks in a closed bin. Don’t use masks with valves.

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Keep physical distancing
Keep a physical distance of at least one metre from other people, even if they don’t appear to be sick. 
COVID-19 is caused by the virus called SARS-CoV-2, which can spread from an infected person’s mouth or nose in small liquid particles when they cough, sneeze, speak, sing or breathe. 
Current evidence suggests the virus is or more likely to be inhaled or come directly into contact with the eyes, nose or mouth when people are in close contact with each other, typically within 1 metre. 

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Cover coughs and sneezes
Cover your mouth and nose with a bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Dispose of the used tissue immediately in a closed bin and wash your hands.
By following good respiratory hygiene, you protect yourself and the people around you from COVID-19. Good respiratory hygiene also protects you from other respiratory viruses that cause colds and flu. 

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Keep hands clean 
Clean your hands frequently with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand rub. You may pick up a virus by touching surfaces that have been contaminated, then touching your eyes, nose or mouth with those hands.
Cleaning your hands frequently eliminates germs that may be on your hands, including viruses. Clean and disinfect surfaces frequently, especially those which are regularly touched, such as door handles, taps and phone screens.

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Meet outside or increase ventilation 
Go outside or open windows when possible. COVID-19 is more easily transmitted in crowded and poorly ventilated spaces and where people spend long periods of time together.
Settings with increased risk of outbreaks include restaurants, choir practices, fitness classes, karaoke bars and nightclubs, offices and places of worship.

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According to the Ministry of Health while COVID-19 can be asymptomatic, the most common symptoms are fever, dry cough and fatigue. Other symptoms that are less common include loss of taste or smell, nasal congestion, conjunctivitis (also known as red eyes), sore throat, headache, muscle or joint pain, skin rash, nausea or vomiting, diarrhoea, chills and dizziness.
If you have these symptoms, stay home and call your health-care provider or a COVID-19 hotline for instructions and find out when and where to get a test, whether you should isolate and how to monitor your health. People who have had close contact with someone who is or may be infected may also consider quarantining and testing. Again, follow local guidance. 
If you have shortness of breath, or pain or pressure in the chest, seek medical attention immediately. Call your health-care provider or hotline in advance to know where to go. 

Source: Seychelles News Agency