‘Coronaphobia’ spreading quickly among people: Experts

‘Coronaphobia’ spreading quickly among people: Experts

‘Coronaphobia’ spreading quickly among people: Experts

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Fear of contracting COVID-19 is threatening people as much as the virus, a member of the Coronavirus Scientific Advisory Board of Turkey has said.

The term “coronaphobia” describes the fear of contracting COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, as the infection has been spreading rapidly across the world.

Dr. İlhami Çelik said people should take measures against the virus without panicking.

“This virus should not be perceived as a plague or tuberculosis. People should not approach each other like they are plague-stricken. The virus will not remain in the human body forever,” he said.

Stressing the importance of the measures against the virus, he said it should not be forgotten that 95 percent of the infected have recovered. Çelik said due to the fear of coronavirus, two types of approaches have emerged.

“One is of the people who frequently want to have a coronavirus test and the other of those who stay away from the virus test,” he said.

According to Çelik, both approaches are wrong.

“A negative virus test does not mean you will no longer get the virus. Or testing every day does not protect you from the virus. Also, avoiding virus test risks both your own life and the lives of others,” he said.

Çelik also stressed that what’s important is to take all necessary precautions without panicking and to continue living as usual.

In preventing coronaphobia, Çelik stressed that the media has played a significant role.

“The media should move away from the language of news that will push people to panic and fear, and it should rather accurately inform people,” he said.

Baseless claims and rumors about the virus on social media should not be shared, he added.

Meanwhile, as mental health becomes more important than ever after social isolation measures have been in place to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus, Turkish psychologists emphasized the need for healthy communication to protect children from the psychological effects of the ongoing global pandemic.

In a statement, experts at the Ibn Haldun University (İHÜ) in Istanbul said the new measures significantly changed the normal flow of life and instilled feelings of fear, anxiety and desperation.

Asserting that children were at risk of being the most affected by the course of these precautions, they made some recommendations to adults to help get them through the COVID-19 pandemic as comfortably as possible.

First, the statement urged guardians to give children age-appropriate information on the outbreak and virus, making sure that the child had accurate knowledge suitable for their age and mental development without expecting them to make sense of the entire issue.

The experts also encouraged healthy communication with children, asking them how they felt about the ordeal, as well as their experiences, feelings, fears and concerns.

Some children are better at expressing themselves than others. It would be better to ask what they are going through emotionally after asking what they know about the coronavirus, they said.

Finally, the statement recommended that parents reassure their children that the virus can be kept “under control.”

Explaining that children may feel fear and anxiety, it said that telling them what they could do to contain the virus and prevent infection could have a relaxing effect. In particular, it suggested emphasizing the importance and role of hygiene.