COVID-19 outbreak: Safety and health precautions to fight off the coronavirus infection in Singapore
Please don't be a jerk
We've heard the news. We've seen the reports. Coronavirus or rather COVID-19 is here and it doesn't seem to be making any plans to leave — for now. With over 70 coronavirus infections in Singapore, panic has erupted morphing into shortage of masks, overstocking on groceries, and no hand sanitisers in sight. And with the World Health Organisation declaring the coronavirus outbreak a global health emergency, it's safe to keep your guard up.
But it follows with a separate chain of absurd reactions and behaviours. Starting with wiping the shelves of our local supermarkets clean, scalpers trying to upsell masks on Carousell, alongside the global anxiety that has triggered hostility and deep-seated xenophobia towards East Asian people. More specifically, the mainland Chinese. Indeed, this outbreak has brought out the worst in people — so much so that even the cheerful aunty at your favourite coffee stall isn't immune to it.
And while everyone is frantic and fixated on the pandemic, there's another crisis at hand: Singaporeans seem to have lost empathy and the ability to make rational judgements through all of this. So yes, before you death-stare down that poor dude with a sinus issue on the bus, read our tips below on how to combat and survive this epidemic. None of them involve layering masks...
Sanitise your phone
2,617. That's the average amount a typical cell phone user touches their phones — daily. What's worse? The extreme cases touch their phone up to 5,400 times daily. So no matter how proactive you are with your OCD cleaning routine, if you don't practice the same care towards your phone, it may render all that effort useless. MOH (Ministry of Health) advises that regularly cleaning your phone is a better way to fight the coronavirus than to wear a mask. Now before you start grabbing antibacterial wipes, be aware that they tend to damage your phone screens. A microfiber cloth should be used instead, paired with plain alcohol solution to work its charm.
Wash your hands before and after your session at the gym
Life goes on, which means it is okay to resume your daily workout sessions at the gym. But with shared equipment in the way, practice good hygiene and take the neccessary precautions. Avoid showing up when you're unwell, wash your hands before and after the session, and avoid physical contact with people. Doctors have also advised that although this virus is not airborne, you should keep a close distance from people around you.
Wipe down everything when you're in flight mode
If you're not planning to put a pause on vacations or cancel that business meeting you have in another city, fly with the neccessities. Wear a mask and carry alcohol wipes with you. Your seat, armrest, and tray table need to be wiped down thoroughly. While having your meal on the plane, try to make it a quick one, then wash your hands before putting your mask back on.
Don't be a prick
When push comes to shove, it is every man for himself. With the outbreak at large, it's easy to stereotype — we're all guilty of it — but when it comes to the xenophobia discourse and racist abuse being hurled at mainland Chinese, that might just boil down to plain ignorance and malice.
Contrary to popular belief, the majority of the infected have never consumed wild animals or slaughtered animals in the wet market. Especially with most of them being healthcare professionals. Whilst nurses and doctors are risking their lives every day in order to assist and save their patients, they are shockingly being shunned and ostracised for 'spreading the virus' in public. That doesn't make any sense, does it? Take a moment to read and ponder on the matter before attributing your non-verbal or verbal abuse whether it be offline and online. Devote your attention to the elderly and poor who happen to be the most disadvantaged in this situation, a little help can go a long way especially in this trying season.
Choose what you consume online
This might sound pretty ironic, but don't believe everything you read online. Look for trusted sources like WHO (World Health Organisation) where you can find noteworthy tips on their website that everyone should take note of. Some of these include the 'wash your hands frequently' step. Next up, practise respiratory hygiene — basically cover your mouth and nose when sneezing and coughing, which we didn't realise wasn't a common habit. Also, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth if your hands aren't squeaky clean, avoid consumption of raw animal products, and seek medical care if you are feeling unwell as soon as you can.
Don't pull a photo-worthy stunt
If you've dilligently read through all of the above, this wouldn't happen. But sadly, it already did. With the global mask shortage, terrified passengers have been resorting to makeshift masks as protection gear. From plastic bottles and plastic bags to bra pads and fruits, travellers are pulling out all the stops, showing no shame in their game. Do they actually work though? We hate to break it to you but no, they don't. If surgical masks are unlikely to help, then plastic bottles will most definitely not. Instead, work on good hygiene practices including washing your hands with soap for longer than 20 seconds and invest in alcohol-based hand sanitisers — saving you time, oxygen, and from becoming the next viral meme on the Internet.