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Gwyneth Paltrow is the latest celebrity expressing fears over the coronavirus Covid-19 outbreak.
The Academy Award-winner told her 6.9 million Instagram followers she was going to “sleep with [a mask] on the plane” while en route to Paris.
The Goop founder appeared to reference her starring role in the 2011 film Contagion, which portrays officials struggling to contain a deadly virus that will infect one in 12 people worldwide.
In a post that has been liked more than 55,000 times, she wrote: “Paranoid? Prudent? Panicked? Placid? Pandemic? Propaganda?
“Paltrow’s just going to go ahead and sleep with this thing on the plane. I’ve already been in this movie.”
Urging her followers to “stay safe”, Paltrow added: “Don’t shake hands. Wash hands frequently.”
The actor is wearing a mask by Airinum that claims to protect against microscopic pollutants “to keep you healthy in any urban surrounding”.
She is not alone, with fellow thespian Kate Hudson facing criticism for her own “ineffective” mask.
Covid-19 has more than 81,000 confirmed cases worldwide, of which 78,064 are in mainland China, according to John Hopkins University data.
While incidences appear to be plateauing in China, the virus has been detected in over 30 countries.
South Korea is second to China, with more than 1,200 confirmed cases and 11 deaths.
Italy has also seen 11 fatalities and over 300 cases, making it the worst affected country in Europe.
Out of the 6,795 people tested for coronavirus in the UK, 13 have come back positive.
The UK’s chief medical officers claim the risk to individuals “remains low”.
How to protect yourself from Covid-19
While Paltrow has faced criticism over her wellbeing advice in the past, her recent recommendations seem sound.
“Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water,” it states.
This helps “kill” the virus, preventing it entering the body via the nose, mouth or eyes.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using a sanitiser made up of 60%-to-95% alcohol.
Hands should be washed before preparing or eating food, after going to the toilet and when handling animals or their waste.
People should also avoid touching their face with “unclean” hands.
Little is known about Covid-19, which was virtually unheard of two months ago.
The only known method of transmission is via droplets sneezed or coughed out from an infected person.
While the WHO does not advise we stop shaking hands, it does recommend people “maintain social distancing”, keeping one metre (3ft) away from “anyone who is coughing or sneezing”.
Covid-19 symptoms tend to be vague and flu-like, such as fever, cough and breathlessness.
The WHO urges people to “seek medical attention” if they develop the above.
Suspected patients should call in advance, with some GP surgeries and hospitals potentially advising people do not come in to help stem the spread of infection.
Four in five cases are thought to be mild, with hospital treatment not being required.
These patients should “self-isolate” at home to protect those who could develop pneumonia if infected, such as the elderly or already ill.
It is unclear how long people are infectious for, with the general consensus being around 14 days.
For those living with others, the CDC recommends they “stay in a specific room” and “use a separate bathroom, if available”.
To further stem the spread of infection, cough or sneeze into tissues, which should be promptly thrown away.
The WHO even urges people not to “spit in public”.
The benefits of masks are up for debate, with evidence suggesting they may help to an extent.
With the eyes exposed and coronaviruses generally small enough to get through the fabric, masks may not be a “fool proof” way of staying infection-free.
Nevertheless, the CDC states patients “should wear a mask when around other people”.
It urges they do not share “dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels or bedding”.
“High-touch surfaces” – like doorknobs, toilets and keyboards – should also be cleaned every day, it adds.
What is Covid-19?
Covid-19 is one of seven strains of the coronavirus class that are known to infect humans.
Others range from the mild common cold to severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars), which killed 774 people in 2004.
Most of the people who initially became unwell from Covid-19 worked at, or visited, a seafood and live animal market in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
Pneumonia comes about when the infection causes the alveoli (air sacs) in the lungs to become inflamed and filled with fluid or pus.
The lungs then struggle to draw in air, resulting in reduced oxygen in the bloodstream.
“Without treatment the end is inevitable,” said the charity Médecins Sans Frontières.
“Deaths occurs because of asphyxiation.”
While no one can say for sure where the virus came from, bats seem most likely.
The nocturnal creatures are thought to have been behind Sars and fellow coronavirus Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome (Mers).
Scientists from Peking University in Beijing suggested snakes may have been the “intermediate host” for Covid-19.
A team from South China Agricultural University later found it could have “jumped” from bats to humans via pangolins.
Covid-19 has no specific treatment, with care being “supportive” while a patient’s immune system works to fight off the virus.