Coronavirus: Dubai school chiefs share comic book to ease pupils concerns

The eight-page booklet takes informative but light-hearted approach to all things Covid-19

Dubai, United Arab Emirates - February 14, 2019: General views of Delhi Private School. Rahhal programme is in its second phase and heads of schools are discussing the challenges it faces. Thursday the 14th of February 2019 at The Gardens, Jebel Ali, Dubai. Chris Whiteoak / The National

Education authorities in Dubai have taken a fresh approach to illustrating the impact of the coronavirus outbreak - by sharing a printable comic book to ease the concerns of pupils.

The Knowledge and Human Development Authority, the emirate's private schools regulator, is aiming to clamp down on fear-mongering and arm pupils with valuable information amid growing concerns about the global spread of Covid-19.

With comical illustrations alongside handy tips and advice, the colourful guide urges children to “wash your hands” and avoid “picking your nose” to help prevent the spread of the virus.

In a tweet on Sunday, the Knowledge and Human Development Authority posted a link to a printable version of the booklet.

“Coronavirus explained in a comic for kids (and adults!) - thanks to @NPR. The full & printable version [available],” the regulator said on Twitter.

The comic explains typical symptoms of the disease, which was first discovered in China late last year.

“A lot of the symptoms are similar to the flu (which you might have had before!),” it read.

“Dry itchy cough, fever, kinda hard to breathe.”

Crucial advice is also dispensed on how good personal hygiene could keep germs at bay.

“Wash [your hands] for at least 20 seconds. If it helps, sing the ABC’s while you do it.

“Wash [your hands] after using the bathroom or being in public spaces, like the bus or playground.”

Other tips include sneezing into an elbow instead of a hand and avoiding the rubbing and touching of the face.

The comic strip guide encourages children to confide in an adult if they have questions and to avoid listening to gossip in the playground.

“If there’s anything you might be confused or worried about, don’t be afraid to ask someone you trust.”

Exclusively “for kids”, the comic was originally published by a company in the US to answer all the questions that children might want to know about the novel virus.

The author used interviews with health professionals and social workers to create the unique comic.

The coronavirus has spread to more than 50 countries since it emerged, with more than 86,000 people infected and a death toll closing in on 3,000.

Nurseries and kindergartens have been temporarily closed and school trips banned as the UAE seeks to limit the spread of coronavirus.

On Saturday, authorities moved to impose restrictions on every school in the country after the total number of confirmed cases in the Emirates rose to 21 over the weekend.

In a circular issued to all schools, it stated "internal and external" trips should be halted and any scheduled competitions, festivities and gatherings within educational institutions cancelled.