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Q: My live-in help has asked if she could go out to spend time with her friends on her weekly day off. We are concerned about this due to the virus outbreak. What is your advice?

The World Health Organization (WHO) has clearly stated the different modes of the spread of coronavirus among humans. There are three main ways of getting infected: A) Through droplets. This comes through coughing or sneezing by an infected person leading to transmission via nose, mouth or even eyes of an individuals in close proximity to the sufferer. The presence of virus in the air can last up to 3-4 hours. B) Through physical contact – body contact with a sick person or the carrier, for example shaking hands or greeting through hugging. C) By touching contaminated surfaces/objects where the virus can survive from a few hours to a few days.

Avoiding the above three likely modes of catching the virus is the only valid preventive action. Therefore, self-isolation to a maximum extent and avoiding close social interactions are the key to success of preventive actions.

Now let’s address the issue related to your house helper. Her request to go out on weekly days off cannot be supported or accepted because by doing so you will be exposing yourself to high risk.

Also, importantly, the government authorities have made it clear that the public should stay indoors and step out only if absolutely essential.

She could be mingling with social acquaintances in an environment where the above-mentioned prevention guidelines are not observed. This could put her at high risk of catching coronavirus from that group and spreading it further.

She does not necessarily need to be 'visibly sick' for you to believe that she has positively acquired the Covid-19 infection. This is because several cases of coronavirus infection can easily go unnoticed because of the mild nature of symptoms in some group of sufferers.

Therefore, due to the potential risk involved, you have every right of banning her from leaving your house for a period of a few weeks. The ban is necessary for medical and health safety reasons for her, yourself, the community and the nation.

Religiously observing the preventive guidelines is extremely important.

Dr Ikramullah Al Nasir is specialist dermatologist and medical director at Dermacare Dubai. Got a problem? Our fantastic panel of renowned experts is available to answer all your questions related to fashion, well-being, nutrition, finance and hypnotherapy. Email your queries to