"GOOD NEWS!!! Wuhan's coronavirus can cure itself with a bowl of freshly boiled garlic water. The old Chinese doctor proved its effectiveness. Many patients have also proven it to be effective. RECIPE: Take eight chopped garlic cloves, add seven cups of water and bring to a boil. Eat and drink the boiled water from the garlic. Improved and cured overnight. Please share with all your contacts. Can help save lives..."
If you saw this message and several other 'online medications' for the novel coronavirus outbreak circulating virally across social media, you're not alone.
With panicked Indians rushing to medical shops to buy masks and hand sanitizers over fears of the novel coronavirus outbreak in the country, several unverified and fake cures have emerged on social media platforms.
Garlic water, homoeopathic medicines, ginger and many other products commonly used as home remedies to treat normal cold, fever and cough are suddenly being touted on Facebook, Twitter and other sites as medicines "verified" by several Wuhan doctors which have "successfully proven effective" in treating the disease.
In view of such fake information, the World Health Organization (WHO) has issued an advisory that busts several of these myths.
Before you press that forward message on any viral coronavirus message from your family WhatsApp group, read this first!
1) Can an ultraviolet disinfection lamp kill the new coronavirus?
UV lamps should not be used to sterilize hands or other areas of skin as UV radiation can cause skin irritation.
2) Can eating garlic help prevent being infected by the new coronavirus?
Garlic is a healthy food that may have some antimicrobial properties. However, there is no evidence from the current outbreak that eating garlic has protected people from the new coronavirus.
3) Is it safe to receive a letter or a package from China?
Yes, it is safe. People receiving packages from China are not at risk of contracting the new coronavirus. The virus does not survive long on objects, such as letters or packages.
4) Does applying sesame oil block the new coronavirus from entering the body?
No, sesame oil does not kill the new coronavirus. There are some chemical disinfectants that can kill the 2019-nCoV on surfaces. These include bleach/chlorine-based disinfectants, ether solvents, 75% ethanol, peracetic acid and chloroform.
Scientists have also warned that if you put them on the skin or under your nose, it can turn out to be dangerous.
5) Are antibiotics effective in preventing and treating the new coronavirus?
No, antibiotics do not work against viruses, only bacteria. Therefore, they should not be used as a means of prevention or treatment. However, if you are hospitalized with the 2019-nCoV, you may receive antibiotics because bacterial co-infection is possible.
6) A cat which arrived at the Chennai port in a container from China more than 20 days ago and was suspected to be infected by the coronavirus is now facing deportation. But can pets contract the virus?
At present, there is no evidence that pets such as dogs or cats can be infected with the coronavirus, the WHO said. However, it cautioned that it is safer to wash your hands with soap and water after contact with pets.
As of Thursday, 30 people from India have tested positive for coronavirus, the latest being reported in Ghaziabad in the national capital region.
On Wednesday, a Paytm employee in Gurugram was reported to have contracted the bug.
Of the other 28 cases, 16 are Italian tourists who have been quarantined. The Indian driver of the tourists has also tested positive for the virus.
Three cities with active coronavirus infections include the national capital Delhi, Jaipur and Hyderabad.
The new virus, that originated in China in December 2019, continues to spread around the world and has infected more than 90,000 people. Globally, the number of deaths due to COVID-19 has crossed 3,000.