Southern Asia-Pacific Division

The official website of the Southern Asia-Pacific Division of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists


SSD Health Advisory on Covid-19

March 11, 2020


Highly esteemed leaders, coworkers, and friends!

This is part two of the Health advisory issued to you last January 26, 2020, regarding COVID-19 which I hope had been properly trickled down to all the institutions and churches under your jurisdiction.

The Emergency Committee of the World Health Organization under the International Health regulations declared the current outbreak of COVID-19 a public health emergency of international concern, and in light of the rapidly evolving situation,  the  Health Ministries Department in consultation with the administrators of Southern Asia Pacific Division came up with the following Health Advisory based upon the guidelines coming from the World Health Organization.

Since SSD has 14 countries and 11 Unions in its territory, the guidelines produced by the SSD Health Ministries Department are general.  We would like to recommend that each country/Union take heed and follow the health regulations and guidelines set by your Government and Health Department. Different countries are in different scenarios, requiring tailored responses since COVID-19 is an uneven epidemic at the global level.

Based upon the facts and recommendations from the World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control, we came up with a very simplified framework:

Facts Recommendations by WHO
1. Outbreak reported having occurred within clusters of cases exposed through close contacts and in big gatherings/big meetings.

Avoid big gatherings, or if unavoidable please do precautionary measures found in the WHO website with the title:

Reference: WHO/2019-nCoV/POE mass gathering/2020.1
2. Travelers are susceptible to COVID-19. It is advised to limit travel to high-risk countries or if unavoidable follow the preventive measures outlined below.
3. Travelers returning from affected areas. Voluntary home quarantine for 14 days after traveling to countries with local transmission and those with a higher risk of importation.
4. Body contact transmits the Virus

Avoid handshake or hug. Just wave, or nod or smile or you just put your right hand to your heart (palm of the hand facing the heart). If unavoidable wash hands right away or use alcohol-based hand rub to sanitize your hand.

5. Individuals, church members, workers are at risk

*Set up hand sanitizers stations in the strategic areas of the church, schools, and workplaces

*Handwashing facility/Comfort room should have enough supply of water and soap.

6. Virus from animals and uncooked food

*Make sure that foods are cooked properly.

*Avoid contacts of sick animals

*Eat more nutritious foods such as fruits and vegetables and avoid food with high sugar content.


These are basic protective measures against COVID 19 from World Health Organization advice for public: 

1. Wash your hands frequently. Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.                             Why? Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.

2. Maintain social distancing. Maintain at least 1-meter (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.                                                   Why? When someone coughs or sneezes, he or she sprays small liquid droplets from his or her nose or mouth which may contain viruses.  If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.

3. Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth. Why? Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth.  From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.

4. Practice respiratory hygiene. Make sure you and the people around you follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and your nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze.  Then dispose of the used tissue immediately. Why? Droplets spread the virus. By following good respiratory hygiene, you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19.

5. If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early. Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance.  Follow the directions of your local health authority. Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on the situation in your area. Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also protect you and help prevent the spread of viruses and other infections.

6. Stay informed and follow the advice given by your healthcare provider. Why? Stay informed on the latest developments about COVID-19.  Follow the advice given by your healthcare provider, your national and local public health authority or your employer on how to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on whether COVID-19 is spreading in your area. They are best placed to advise on what people in your area should be doing to protect themselves.


It is prudent for travelers who are sick to delay or avoid travel to affected areas.  This recommendation is particularly for elderly travelers and people with chronic diseases or underlying health conditions.

General recommendations for personal hygiene, cough etiquette, and keeping a distance of at least one meter from persons showing symptoms remain particularly important to all travelers. These include:

Perform hand hygiene frequently particularly after contact with respiratory secretions. Hand hygiene includes either cleaning hands with soap and water or with an alcohol-based hand rub. Alcohol-based hand rubs are preferred if hands are not visibly soiled; wash hands with soap and water when they are visibly soiled.

Cover your nose and mouth with a flexed elbow or paper tissue when coughing or sneezing and disposing immediately of the tissue and performing hand hygiene.

Refrain from touching the mouth and nose. A medical mask is not required if exhibiting no symptoms, as there is no evidence that wearing masks – of any type – protect non-sick persons. However, in some cultures, masks may be commonly worn. If masks are to be worn, it is critical to follow best practices on how to wear, remove and dispose of them and on hand hygiene after 

Protection measures for persons who are in or have recently visited (past 14 days) areas where COVID-19 is spreading.

Follow the guidance outlined above.

Stay at home if you begin to feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and a slight runny nose, until you recover. Why? Avoiding contact with others and visits to medical facilities to allow these facilities to operate more effectively and help protect you and others from possible COVID-19 and other viruses.

If you develop fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical advice promptly as this may be due to a respiratory infection or other serious condition. Call in advance and tell your provider of any recent travel or contact with travelers. Why? Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also help to prevent the possible spread of COVID-19 and other viruses.

The bottom line to all this is we should maintain a strong immune system by practicing a healthy lifestyle. It could be summarized to:


by Dr. John Vic Comia Caagbay 

Nutrition Eat more fruits and vegetables rich in Vitamin C and E.

Exercise To keep your immune system alive and alert to battle the virus.

Water Clean water for washing your hands, face, and body and drinking water to hydrate.

Sunlight Daily 20-minute exposure to sunlight in the early morning hours or late afternoon because the UV rays of sunlight kill the virus.

Temperance or self-control “No going to the malls, no partying at this time.” Be conscious of what you take into your body because it might weaken your immune system     and make you susceptible and vulnerable.

Air Inhale fresh air. Do not lock yourself in a poorly ventilated room.  Remember that the COVID-19 virus   loves a cold closed room.

Rest Take adequate time to sleep and rest to rejuvenate your body and keep your immune system strong (9 pm - 5am).

Trust in God He is in control of everything. Fear is Satan’s device for you   to be easily infected with the virus. But God can overpower that scare if you give it to him to fight this battle.

I also would like to share two documents from the WHO on the management of mild and severe cases:

We as a church should remain steadfast despite the COVID-19 threat to our countries.  We are known the world over as a church whose members are health conscious. We have to prove to the world that we are by preventing ourselves and our church members from acquiring the COVID-19.

May we use this global threat as an opportunity to shine for Jesus by being healthy and staying healthy, and by extending our help. Let’s show to the world that the Seventh-day Adventist Church is a caring church.

Let me leave you with this challenge from the SEC-Gen of the WHO:

“Let hope be the antidote to fear. Let solidarity be the antidote to blame.

Let our shared humanity be the antidote to our shared threat.”


According to the Psalms 91:10-11

“No harm will come and befall your home, for He will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.”

To all Health Directors kindly conduct a massive information drive regarding COVID-19.


Let’s stay healthy and COVID-19 free.

For better health,



Director, Health Ministries

Southern Asia-Pacific Division

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