COVID-19: How to keep calm and stay vigilant during outbreak
When the coronavirus disease now known as COVID-19 emerged in Singapore early this year, no one knew what to expect. Countries around the world have been introducing various measures to ensure the virus does not spread further.
Here in Singapore, some businesses have activated business continuity plans like allowing their employees to work from home, while others implemented staggered shifts to minimise co-mingling in large groups.
While we hope for it to soon pass, most families are doing their best to go about their usual activities - food and groceries are still vital, keeping good personal hygiene is a big priority, and we are all learning to be flexible and adapt to change.
Here are a few ways you can keep calm and stay safe amid the outbreak:
1. Practise good personal hygiene
First, the most basic thing to do is to wash our hands whenever we can. And you might have heard this, experts say that washing your hands frequently throughout the day is even more effective than using the hand sanitiser.
It’s not only about running our hands through water but cleaning thoroughly with soap. Remember to rub the palms and backs of your hands, in addition to between your fingers and your wrists. The CDC recommends that you do so for about 20 seconds, or the length of time it takes to hum Happy Birthday1 twice.
Last but not least, dry your hands thoroughly using a clean towel, or air dry them.
2. Home sweet home
During this time, many mass events are cancelled and some of your regular get-togethers may be postponed. But staying at home does not mean boring times ahead - take this time to do the chores that you’ve been putting off! Maybe reorganise your pantry, or clean out your study using Marie Kondo’s handy tips. You can grasp this opportunity to maximise your VIU or Netflix subscription to catch up on your drama series too.
To prepare for meals, consider having your food and groceries delivered online. Not only do you save time on travelling, you can enjoy the convenience of receiving the items in the comfort of your own home.
3. Bank from home, anytime anywhere
While you’re at home, why not take this chance to also explore the functions within your online banking account? That way, you can save the time you will take to travel to the bank and use it on something else.
For those new to digital banking services, you are able to view your statements and cashflow online in real-time, and even set up recurring payments to your regular establishments. If you would like to take it a step further, there are ways to start investing and growing your savings all in one place through your POSB digibank. You can browse through articles on tips and useful information too to help you better manage your money.
4. Reduce cash handling
Whilst out and about, it’s inevitable that we come into contact with possibly unclean surfaces, such as door handles, cash and coins, or lift buttons. While using tissue to keep contact with these surfaces to a minimum may sound like a viable short-term solution, it may not be the most practical logistically and environmentally.
Though it is near impossible to reduce contact with all surfaces, there is a solution to reduce handling of cash. Did you know that you can use mobile wallets such as PayLah! to pay for your fruit juice and meals at some hawker stalls? Just look out for a QR code and open the app to pay your favourite hawker auntie or uncle instead of exchanging cash.
You can also easily use your credit card for your bus and train rides without having to register for a special service. Just tap your credit card at the gantry and you’re good to go. This means you will no longer be stuck at the gantry hoping your EZ-Link card has enough value, and you won’t need to wait in line to top-up your card at a shared machine if it doesn’t. This saves time, minimises your contact with shared surfaces, and reduces your handling of cash – a triple win!
5. Seek medical attention if necessary
If you’re feeling under the weather, it may be best to stay home instead of heading out. Visit your doctor if you feel it is necessary - and remind your friends to do the same if they, too, are unwell. If you do not have respiratory symptoms and are not up for travelling to the clinic, there are now medical apps you can download on your mobile phone that provide virtual consultations over a secured video or audio call. You may even get your prescribed medicine delivered to your doorstep on the same day.
Through these teleconsultations, chances of catching something else or passing our germs onto others are lowered through avoiding crowded places.
6. Compassion and kindness go a long way
There are many healthcare workers working day and night to combat this disease. The Courage Fund, first instituted in 2003 when SARS hit Singapore, will be used to support healthcare workers and their families.
There have been reports of ground-up initiatives to help keep those battling COVID-19 in good spirits, such as efforts to collate messages of encouragement for medical staff. Other stories that have emerged include fundraising for those affected by the outbreak and neighbourhood initiatives to ensure that masks and hand sanitisers are readily available.
Sometimes, even a small gesture - such as a kind, reassuring word to your neighbour - can go a long way.