With the coronavirus outbreak showing no signs of abating, we figured that a recap of how to stay safe in these tough times would be worth a read.
About now, you may have had your fill of tips, guides, advice or just about anything, really, about the coronavirus crisis. On the other hand, with the crisis showing no signs of slowing down and new developments popping up every so often, it is crucial to have the basics of the disease right. It might also seem that all the fuss about social distancing, the constant hand washing and so on is just a whole lot of nothing for those of us still unaffected. But that’s exactly the best-case scenario everybody’s hoping for in a pandemic like this: absolutely nothing.
So, to ensure that nothing happens to any of us until the crisis has past, let’s take one more look at the essentials of life in the time of the coronavirus.
Stay (Well) Informed
Information about the coronavirus crisis dominates not only mainstream news but also social media, private blogs and just about every WhatsApp group in existence. Sadly, this also means that unconfirmed updates, unintended bits of misinformation and outright hoaxes are spreading as fast as the disease. So, always use common sense and make it a habit of cross-checking new info. Reliable sources include the World Health Organization (www.who.int), the government’s official COVID-19 website (www.covid19.go.id) and respectable news agencies such as the Associated Press (www.apnews.com), Kantor Berita Antara (www.antaranews.com) and the BBC (www.bbc.com).
Stay (Extra) Clean
Personal hygiene plays a huge role in terms of avoiding the coronavirus. So, make it a habit of regularly—and more importantly: thoroughly—washing your hands. Water and soap work well, as does alcohol-based hand sanitizers. But no matter how clean your hands are, avoid touching your face, especially around your nose, eyes and mouth. Put it this way: As long as the coronavirus crisis continues, always act as if you’ve just been chopping up chili peppers.
“Even if we manage to avoid or resist the virus, we can all too easily spread it around. And some people around us might not be as healthy or lucky as us”
Stay (Publicly) Masked
During the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic, the general consensus was that masks were necessary only for people exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms (fever, feeling tired and dry coughs are the most common ones) and those actively involved in taking care of people confirmed to have caught the bug. As we learnt more about the virus and how it spreads, the general directive is to always wear a mask whenever you have to step outside the safety of your home, whether it’s going our for groceries or even just receiving a delivery. Be sure to learn how to properly put on, use, take off and dispose of a mask. The official WHO site mentioned above has a pretty comprehensive guide. Also, stick to single-use or washable cloth masks, and reserve N95 or other medical-grade masks for health professionals.
Stay (Socially but not Emotionally) Distant
Unless it’s absolutely necessary, stay home. And if you’re feeling unwell, then absolutely stay home. If, for whatever reason, you do venture into public spaces, maintain sufficient distance between yourself and other people. Minimizing physical contact with frequently touched surfaces—such as handrails, elevator buttons, etc.—is also highly recommended. And don’t forget to wash your hands!
Stay (Reasonably) Supplied
The idea of staying at or working from home was a lot easier when basic necessities like food and toiletries was just a short trip to the nearest supermarket/minimarket/warung away. That, and online delivery, of course. Now, shops and malls are closing their doors, while delivery drivers are becoming hesitant as well. So, it might be a good idea to make sure you always have enough supplies of food, toiletries, cooking gas, etc. But please be mindful that other people do, too. And stockpiling sugar, instant noodles, hand sanitizer and toilet paper isn’t doing anybody any favors.
Stay Harmless (For Others)
Here’s the most important thing to remember about all the fuss regarding washing your hands, staying at home, social distancing, not hoarding masks, etc.: It’s not just about you, it’s not just about me. It’s about everybody. The risk of catching COVID-19 is still relatively low (although obviously this depends on where you live, local restrictions on travel and other factors) and so is the risk of becoming seriously ill or worse. But even if we manage to avoid or resist the virus, we can all too easily spread it around. And some people around us might not be as healthy or lucky as us. So, let’s all do what we can to stay safe, healthy and—perhaps even more importantly—harmless.
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