There has been a tinge of paranoia in the air for the past couple of weeks. My daily commute to and from the office has been met with a mixture of suspicious glances and disgusted frowns every time I clear my throat.
Since the turn of the new year, when China first announced the outbreak in Wuhan of what we’ve come to know as the Novel Coronavirus, the community reaction has been mixed. Some have taken the news with concern for the economy, some with fear for the health and safety of themselves and their family, and others with anger and xenophobia.
Fighting the Spread
Whatever sentiments you may have about this outbreak, it is important to know that we can help fight against its spread. The Ministry of Health (MOH) has highlighted several times that while there has been no evidence of community spread within Singapore to date, we should all adopt several best practices to minimise not just the spread of the virus, but also to curb the spread of fear and misinformation.
Taking Care of Your Hygiene
While it might seem obvious, we all need the occasional reminder to maintain our hygiene, and to keep ourselves and those around us healthy.
Hence, we should always remember to:
- Wash our hands frequently with soap (no, it doesn’t have to be antibacterial soap)
- Wear a mask if we have a cough or cold (no, we don’t need one if we are well)
- See a doctor if we are feeling sick
- Avoid going to crowded places if we are feeling unwell
- Defer travelling to affected areas
Taking Care of Each Other
As the saying goes, a friend in need is a friend indeed. Help to reassure and take care of one another, be it a friend, a co-worker or a neighbour.
We can do so by:
- Sharing tips on staying healthy with friends and family, and especially the elderly who are not familiar with digital channels or the major languages
- Staying updated through the MOH website, or the Gov.sg WhatsApp group
If you are already fearful as non-healthcare personnel or essential service staff; imagine those who work at the frontline of this outbreak.
Expressing some appreciation for those working hard so that we can live our lives as normally as possible will go a long way to making their efforts seem worthwhile.
So, whenever possible:
- Show thanks to doctors, nurses, airport workers, transport staff, and other frontline staff, especially those whom you know or are around you (a relative, a friend, or even a neighbour)
Speak Up for Hope and Care, Stand Against the Needlessly Negative
These are trying times, and we should all stick together as a community instead of trying to divide ourselves with messages of hate or fear.
So, remember to:
- Help explain that rumours are harmful, and don’t share information that you are unsure of
- Highlight the many good things that we are all doing as a society
The times can be stressful for many people, so be kind and gentle in reminding people that we can get through this when we stand together