What is Coronavirus (COVID-19)?
The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that has been declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization. It affects people differently, with most exhibiting mild cases, especially in children and young adults. However, in some cases, it can result in serious illness, with about 20% of those infected requiring hospital care.
COVID-19 does not discriminate between nationalities, sexes, or ages. It is important to not let fear lead to stigma toward friends, neighbours, or members of the community. Treat all people with compassion and speak up if you hear others making statements that cause stigma against people in your community.
In March 2020, The Ministry of Health implemented several preventative measures to control the person-to-person spread of COVID-19, including restrictions on refugee camps, including:
- Camp residents were not permitted to exit the camps except for emergencies;
- Camp visits were not permitted, with some exceptions for aid workers;
- Gatherings of people in larger groups, even for distribution of aid were prohibited;
- Schools and other community spaces were closed.
as of June 2020 These temporary measures were lifted, however, the situation will be re-evaluated periodically, based on the spread of the disease. Other measurements may be imposed. Primary Health Care Centres remain open for services.
What should I do to protect myself and my community?
At all times, practice good hygiene, including:
- Regularly washing your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based rub
- Maintaining at least 2 metres (6 feet) distance between yourself and anyone.
- Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
- Covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze, then disposing of the used tissue immediately
- Staying home if you feel unwell
For trusted information on how to protect yourself, your family, and your community, visit the World Health Organization Website at https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-coronaviruses
Additionally, you can contact UNHCR via the:
Iraq Information Centre Helpline
For more information, or to make a complaint or provide feedback UNHCR assistance, call the Iraq Information Centre (IIC) toll-free at 80069999. All calls are confidential. The IIC can be reached 8:00am – 6:00pm (Sunday – Thursday) and 9:00am – 3:00pm (weekends and holidays) . You can also request a call-back by sending ‘HELP’ and your phone number via SMS to 80069999, or via Facebook messenger (@IICInfo) and IIC operators will call you. Do not send details about your situation over the internet.
What do I do if I notice symptoms in myself or others?
If you are exhibiting symptoms including fever, dry cough, and tiredness: Call emergency health services by phone at 122
If you believe there is a suspected case of COVID-19 in your community:
- Make sure to wear your masks and visit the primary health care center in the camp.
If you have been in contact with a person who is showing symptoms:
- Inform a camp healthcare provider by phone (so they are prepared to receive you) and proceed to the camp clinic.
Coping with Stress and Anxiety
It is normal to feel sad, stressed, confused, scared, or angry during a crisis. It is also important to remain calm and practise good habits:
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle, including a good diet, sleep, exercise, and communication with loved ones
- Avoid using smoking, alcohol, or other drugs to deal with your emotions
- If you feel overwhelmed, speak to a health worker or counsellor
- Limit time reading news that causes anxiety, and only follow trusted health instructions. Try to avoid misleading information and rumours.
How can I support my children? Children may respond to stress in different ways. They may become more clingy, anxious, withdrawn, angry or agitated, start bedwetting etc.
- Respond to your child’s reactions in a supportive way, listen to their concerns, and give them extra love and attention.
- Provide facts about what has happened, explain what is going on now, and give them clear information about how to reduce their risk of being infected by the disease in words that they can understand depending on their age.
- Explain to children what may happen if a family member becomes ill.
In times of lockdown (should it be imposed), face-to-face specialized counselling will still be taking place. When this is unfeasible, counselling over the phone can be set up.