Coronavirus: Can recovered patients be at risk of reinfection?
Updated 16:22, 06-Feb-2020
By Gao Yun

As of Wednesday, a total of 1,153 novel coronavirus patients were discharged from the hospital. While the news of recovery is good, it's a potential cause of concern as experts have warned that patients who have recovered from the disease are still at risk of reinfection and the possibility of spreading the virus.

"After infection, certain antibodies are produced to protect the body. However, some antibodies are not effective for a lifetime, but only for a short period of time after which, if not pay attention, the previously cured patients may also be infected with the virus and spread it," said He Mengzhang, team leader for the clinical treatment of novel coronavirus-caused pneumonia, Panyu Campus of the Second Affiliated Hospital of Guangzhou Medical University.

After returning home, its recommended that patients self-quarantine for 14 days and closely follow their condition. He stressed that discharged patients should isolate themselves from family members and protect themselves and others from potential infection. He recommended wearing a mask, moderate exercise and keeping their environments clean. 

Physical and psychological training

He suggested moderate exercises at first, and adjusting activity levels later.

"Also pay attention to psychological counseling and rehabilitation," said He. "Some patients may develop depression after the disease. If necessary, it is recommended to see a psychological clinic." He pointed out that stress, anxiety, and other psychological changes will affect immunity, which will reduce the immune system's ability to resist pathogens, making people more susceptible to infection.

The cured should avoid a cold and take good rest as well, said He. Their diet needs to be light with balanced nutrition.

Protective measures during Spring Festival travel rush

"Do remember to wash your hands frequently, and keep them clean rather than grope around on the return trip," He emphasized.

"Take disinfectant wipes with you. When traveling on public transportation or touching public facilities, wipe down areas that you may touch. Also, wear a surgical mask all the way, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your bent elbow when coughing or sneezing, and make sure to clean your hands afterwards," He suggested.

He doesn't recommend eating or drinking during the trip. "Try not to take off the mask halfway. If you really want to eat, keep a distance with those who cough, and eat quickly. Change a new mask when you finish."

When removing the mask, do not touch the outside of the mask. Touching contaminated areas may cause infection.