Could you catch coronavirus from a Taxi or Uber that's come from the airport?

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images
Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images
Scott Olson/

Pandemonia has hit South Africans as Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has confirmed that South Africa has recorded its first positive test case for the Covid-19 virus on Thursday (March 5). The first confirmed victim has been revealed to be a 38-year-old father of two who had returned from Italy, where he was with a group of 10 people, according to News24 reports. 

One of the questions that has hit the Wheels24 desk about the disease is: Could I catch coronavirus from a Taxi or Uber coming from the airport?

READ | 8 fast facts on the new coronavirus

The short answer is yes ONLY if someone else with the virus has been in the same vehicle and their respiratory droplets have been left behind, and you then make contact with your hands on said droplets and touch your eyes, nose or mouth. The chances of that happening locally right now is incredibly slim.

It's imperative to wash your hands regularly and encourage increased hygiene habits with your family, so perhaps invest in some hand sanitisers if you're travelling or using public transport, but wash your hands as often as possible and familiarise yourself with the symptoms. It's important to note that only sanitisers with more than 70% alcohol would be sufficient to use.

How does the virus spread?

Health24 says: "The virus spreads through respiratory droplets in the air, when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The particles can land in the mouths or noses of those nearby – this means how close you are to that person will matter.

"According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the virus can spread within a 1.8 metre radius, so maintain social distancing."

Proper hygiene is important

"At the same time, those droplets can land on surfaces you come into contact with so focusing on proper hand hygiene is important and can help you reduce your risk of picking up coronavirus. The WHO has advised everyone to regularly and thoroughly wash their hands and to disinfect surfaces that are touched regularly, such as your phone."  

Only one case is confirmed in South Africa for the time being.

According to Health24, the majority of patients with the Covid-19 virus are adults, and most patients – around 80%, according to an extensive study – experienced mild illness. Approximately 14% experienced severe disease, and 5% were critically ill, reports the World Health Organization (WHO)

READ | Coronavirus 101 – what you need to know

MasterDrive SA believes in taking a proactive approach to the threat that coronavirus presents to South Africa. 

Eugene Herbert from MasterDrive says: "While we do not believe panicking, we do want to prepare for 'a less than ideal scenario' should the virus reach the levels that it has in countries like South Korea and Italy. With these measures, we are protecting our workforce and assuring our clients that their workforces' health is important to us and that we will continue to provide our services, notwithstanding the spread of the virus. 

"We urge other businesses to join us in this initiative. South Africa's economy can ill-afford the impact that widespread quarantines could cause. The time that the virus has taken to reach our country has given us time to understand how it spreads and what we can do to try and minimise this. Make the most of the advantage this time-lapse has given us and do your part in preventing situations – to the extent possible - that can negatively impact on business and the economy as a whole," says Herbert.

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