Terms doing the rounds include quarantine, self-isolation and social distancing.
But what does that mean exactly? People who are sick with the virus will need to self-isolate entirely – while the need to be in quarantine is if you suspect you have been in contact with a person who already has the virus - and you are displaying symptoms. South Africa’s official Coronavirus Covid-19 hotline – 0600 123456 - is the best source of contact and factual information to follow if you think this is you.
For those of us looking to avoid infection, social distancing and a similar less stringent form of self-isolation is the best way forward. This means avoiding any unnecessary social gatherings and things like going to restaurants or malls - unless it is to stock up on essential supplies.
It couldn’t be a more opportune time to ensure your home is your sanctuary – as you and your loved ones look to ensure you’re staying safe and out of the Coronavirus’ infectious and harmful way.
- Establish a hygiene routine
Washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds like you’re a doctor about to go into surgery is our simplest and most effective defence against the contracting the virus at this point say the experts. Create a sanitising hub or two in your home – whether that is having some hand-sanitiser at the entrance for when you’re receiving parcels or for anybody coming in from the outdoors to be able to quickly disinfect their hands – although washing is ultimately the best option.
- Do an essentials shop – but keep it within reason
Consider stocking up on essentials you could need over a two-week to month-long period. Toiletries and cleaning products are obvious but many have been warned against stockpiling this essential good. Medication is important. Get some vitamin-c and common cold or flu medication as a back-up. If you are on chronic medication – make arrangement to ensure you have access to this or can pick-up an extended supply. If you are worried about going into a public space due to health concerns, ask somebody to do this for you.
Make a list of what you will need before heading out. Non-perishables like canned goods, frozen veggies and easy to cook pasta is a good idea. Long-life or powdered milk, grains, sugar, tea, coffee and basic condiments can also be added to the shopping list too.
- Perfect time to de-clutter or do that DIY Project
What many of us often complain about is not having enough time. If you’re working from home – managing your time will be crucial. But it's the weekends during this period of isolation that will give you the best opportunity to plan out those projects you’ve been meaning to get to. Pick one room or cupboard to re-organise a day - you may just be surprised by what you can get through during this time.
Otherwise, tackle that stack of best-seller books you’ve always wanted to tick off.
- Plan out your entertainment
Obviously, online entertainment and series binge-watching will be the default for most as a go-to source of fun. And there is nothing wrong with that at all. That podcast you've been meaning to get to, why not now. But balance is going to be essential too. Whether you make time for a game of scrabble, chess or even a puzzle or two with the family – quality time will take on new meaning during your period of self-isolation and distancing.
Keeping the isolation aspect in check will also be crucial for those who live alone. Schedule some time for regular WhatsApp video calls with friends or family if you can – and if it all gets a bit much, reach out to the experts to ensure being alone isn’t too overwhelming.
Don’t be afraid to get physical
Social distancing and self-isolation during this time are about overall health and wellbeing of our entire country. Don't underestimate the benefits of a walkout in nature. It’s obvious that heading to busy public areas is a no go, as is the gym – but there is no reason you cannot get into your own home routine.
There are many programmes or home-gym videos online. Keeping active will not only help you stem any cabin fever but will ensure you’re boosting your immune system too.
Take time for self-reflection and meditation
The world as we know it has changed - there have been many viral memes about Mother Nature striking back because of consumerism or how the virus has changed the hustle and bustle of one of the world's most overpopulated countries China. Whatever the theories about this virus, it's here among us. Create a space in your home during this period of isolation to take some quiet time - away from devices or each other. Through meditation and prayer or however best you choose to reflect on your thoughts and life - take some time to reassess what's important in your life right now.
Distancing has proved to be one of the best defences as we wait for a vaccine to be developed - it's only a matter of time. Until then, let's do what we can.