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Volunteering with Agape Amid the Coronavirus Outbreak

Successfully sending volunteers abroad for 10 years

What should you do if you’re set to volunteer abroad, but you’re concerned about the ongoing issue surrounding the Coronavirus? You’re well within your rights to hold some concerns. Cases are spreading globally, with China setting a precedent on containment due to the virus originating in Wuhan and Italy on lockdown, the virus, also known as COVID-19 is making it difficult for people to know what to do and how to go about their lives. 

What Is A Coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that produce disease in animals. In total, seven, including the latest virus, have made the leap to humans, but most just result in common cold-like symptoms. 

Two Coronaviruses – Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) – are recognised as being far more severe. 

What Are the Symptoms of The Latest Coronavirus?

The World Health Organisation (WHO), has stated that the main symptoms of the Coronavirus typically include:

  • Tiredness
  • A dry cough
  • A temperature
  • A shortness of breath (in more severe cases) 

The WHO adds that some patients may report "aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhoea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don't feel unwell". 

How Can I Protect Myself Against the Coronavirus?

Attentive hand hygiene is the primary and most significant line of defence. Just as with cold and flu bugs, the new virus spreads via droplets when an individual coughs or sneezes. The droplets land on surfaces and are then transferred on to the hands of other people and spread further. People contract the virus when their mouth, nose or eyes and touched by their infected hands. 

Protecting against the virus is also achieved by regularly keeping hands clean by washing them with soap and water or a strong hand sanitiser. You should try to avoid touching your nose, mouth or eyes with unwashed hands as this is something that we all do unconsciously on average around 15 times an hour. 

Additional tips include:

  • Carry some hand sanitiser with you at all times so that you can make frequent cleaning of your hands as easy as possible
  • Always wash your hands prior to eating or touch your face
  • Be particularly cautious about touching things and then touching your face in busy airports as well as other public transport systems
  • Carry disposable tissues on your person, cover your nose and mouth when you cough and sneeze into the pit of your elbow.
  • Dispose of used tissues carefully using the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ method.
  • Don’t share food that others are dipping their fingers into
  • Avoid shaking hands or cheek kissing if you suspicious of the virus circulating
  • Frequently clean commonly used surfaces and devices that you touch or handle

Locations with Confirmed COVID-19 Cases, by WHO Region 

A statement from our Chief Operating Officer, Charlie Bishop on the issue surrounding Coronavirus and volunteering abroad with Agape: “At this time (13th March 2020) there have been confirmed cases in South Africa but not in any of the other three countries we work in.  

We are closely monitoring the situation and although there are no confirmed cases in Kenya, Ghana or Tanzania, some flights and other travel may be restricted. We would advise all volunteers to check with their airline about any potential travel restrictions and to contact your trip adviser if you have any concerns. We will be sure to update all volunteers if the advice changes from bodies such as the WHO, FCO or other international advice bodies.” 

*Update: As of 16th March 2020, there have now been reported cases in both Kenya and Ghana. As always, we will be monitoring the situation closely and acting accordingly. 

Note: This is the information that we have obtained from various health world health organisations and professionals, therefore, we advise anyone who has any doubts about travelling to Africa to volunteer to contact us if they wish to discuss their upcoming programme or express any other concerns. We will be happy to help. If there is any news or information that we need to update you with that we haven’t already covered, we will update you as soon as possible.


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