By Ergun Haktaniyan
KAYSERI, Turkey (AA) - Fear of contracting COVID-19 is threatening people as much as the virus, a member of the Coronavirus Scientific Advisory Board of Turkey said on Thursday.
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 since it first emerged in Wuhan, China in December.
In an interview with Anadolu Agency, Dr. Ilhami Celik said people should take measures against the virus without panic.
"This virus should not be perceived as a plague or tuberculosis. People should not approach each other like 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% of the infected have recovered.
Celik 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 Celik, 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.
Celik also stressed that the important thing is to take all necessary precautions without panic and to continue living as usual.
- Role of media
In preventing coronaphobia, Celik stressed that the media has 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.
Referring to Turkey's efforts in fighting COVID-19, Celik stressed the power of the country's medical infrastructure, adding that Turkey can overcome this process.
Turkey currently has 15,679 confirmed coronavirus cases, with 277 deaths.
The virus has spread to at least 180 countries and regions. The World Health Organization has declared the outbreak a pandemic.
The global death toll from the virus has hit over 49,200, with almost 963,000 confirmed cases, and nearly 203,000 recoveries, according to data compiled by U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.
* Writing by Fahri Aksut in Ankara.