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  • Scientists are still learning more about the virus and scrambling to develop treatment including a vaccine against the pneumonia-like disease, now called COVID-19. 

    The novel coronavirus is spread from one person to another through respiratory droplets. It means that people close to an infected person who coughs or sneezes can get it. That means at the moment, a person’s best defense against the virus is still good hygiene. 

    In Singapore, the number of infected is now 81, based on the latest CNN report. It’s the country with the highest number of infected people outside of China. In response, college students are using their knowledge to help combat the spread of the illness.

    According to the country’s Ministry of Education, Harman Johll, National Junior College Singapore’s vice-principal and one-time science teacher, rallied his students to create their own hand sanitizers for each class. They used readily available materials in the school’s laboratory and some leftover ingredients from other school projects. 

    “The lesson for students: Be resourceful, imaginative, and, most important, apply what you’ve learned in Science class!” read a post on the ministry on its Facebook page.

    “Our students, putting their knowledge to practical use, and even more importantly, putting the welfare of the college community at the forefront of their learning,” the National Junior College Singapore wrote on their Facebook post.

    Students were also taught that using hand sanitizers are only a secondary measure. “Hand-washing with soap is still the most effective way to protect ourselves,” the ministry stressed. 


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    How to make your own DIY hand-sanitizer

    Based on the photos shared by Singapore’s Ministry of Education, the do-it-yourself (DIY) hand sanitizer made by the students of the National Junior College in Singapore is made up of 70% ethanol and 0.1% hydrogen peroxide. It also contains tea treat oil, frankincense, cinnamon oil, and de-ionized water. 

    According to a study published earlier this month in The Journal of Hospital Infection, human coronavirus may linger on surfaces for at least nine days if not disinfected. The good news is surfaces can be cleaned efficiently with common household products, such as 62 to 71% ethanol, 0.5% hydrogen peroxide, or 0.1% sodium hypochlorite. Using bleach and applying it on an infected surface for one minute also works.

    As for the other ingredients, frankincense and tea tree oil both have anti-inflammatory properties, according to Balot Del Rosario, a NAHA-registered, Certified Level 2 professional aromatherapist and mom of two. Cinnamon, on the other hand, can be very hot on the skin, Del Rosario cautions, so be sure to dilute well and use sparingly. (Click here to read more articles about essential oils.)

    Many people lauded the efforts of the students. Some suggested people sew masks as well to address the shortage of face masks available in the market. Note, however, that the college students made their DIY hand sanitizers in the school laboratory with proper safety equipment. Some chemicals are flammable, and some essential oils are not recommended for people with hypersensitive skin.

    The novel coronavirus has now infected more than 75,000 people globally, with a death toll of at least 2,005, including five outside mainland China. Apart from China, countries are still reporting patients testing positive for COVID-19, with the total number of infected outside China nearing 1,000.

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    The number of newly infected COVID-19 patients may be declining, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Philippines' Department of Health (DOH). But there’s no time to be complacent. 

    For more updates on the coronavirus ourbreak, click here

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