Health experts dispel coronavirus myths doing the rounds

Updated 04 Mar 2020


Pakistani health personnel take part in a drill as a preventative measures during an emergency of coronavirus outbreak, in Peshawar. — AP/File
Pakistani health personnel take part in a drill as a preventative measures during an emergency of coronavirus outbreak, in Peshawar. — AP/File

LAHORE: The Institute of Public Health (IPH) Punjab has declared that there is no scientific evidence to establish the role of onion and garlic juices in the prevention or treatment of coronavirus.

However, a balanced diet and good hygienic conditions can provide protection against the virus, it stated.

IPH Dean Prof Dr Zarfishan Tahir and other public health experts said this at a public awareness seminar held at the Institute on Tuesday.

They said those suffering from flu and cough with fever should wear the mask, use tissue papers while sneezing/ coughing to prevent others. Wearing a mask by a healthy person is not helpful to control coronavirus.

Dr Zarfishan Tahir said coronavirus was not a new disease, however, it had changed its shape. She said personal hygiene and preventive measures could easily protect oneself from the virus. She said regular hand-washing and use of good diet improved immunity level against the infection.

Dr Zarfishan said the IPH had already issued necessary guidelines for prevention from the virus. She said the IPH would also use the media channels of the Virtual University to disseminate health messages among the masses.

It had also imparted training to the master trainers of the teaching hospitals how to use Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) by the doctors and nurses while handling an affected patient.

Dr Huda said there was no specific diet for coronavirus patient. The patient can use meat, vegetables and fruits. She said there was disinformation being spread on social media that meat was injurious to health for such patients.

She further said there was no scientific proof of any role of onion or garlic juices in the prevention/ treatment of coronavirus. She said people should not pay any heed to the speculations/ disinformation spreading through any kind of media. “There is no vaccine or specific medicine for the virus in question,” she said.

Dr Sumyya said myths should be discouraged in this respect. She clarified that the use of meat and taking care of pet birds/animals had nothing to do with the spread of coronavirus and people who are spreading rumours are not doing any service to the people.

She disclosed that people could get information from the Helpline 1166 regarding the virus.

The public health experts suggested that people should not panic and adopt preventive measures by avoiding going to the public places and regularly washing their hands.

They said the patients of flu and cough with the complaint of suffocation and respiratory disorder must go to their doctor/hospital for lab diagnosis and treatment.

Dr Anjum Razzaq, Dr Nadia Mukhtaar and Dr Rukhsana Hameed also spoke.

Published in Dawn, March 4th, 2020