With the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic causing panic around the world, one South African living in China created a Twitter thread on how she has been dealing with the pandemic.
@SlindileM_ says she has been practising social distancing for 58 days and this is how she coped.
I’ve been in Mainland China social distancing for 58 days now.— 珍珠 (@SilindileM_) March 16, 2020
I’ve seen what has been helpful for us this side, I thought I’d try share what might help (most) individual citizens manage this period.
Taking care of yourself takes care of everyone around you.
I don’t have everything figured out nor am I any less worried when this pandemic first hit in a town 4hrs away from my location but calming my nerves and monitoring what triggers my anxiety has carried me a long way.— 珍珠 (@SilindileM_) March 16, 2020
Stress manifests itself in the weirdest ways....
.... If you fail to find a means to calm and ease your stress, you might “fall sick” and then you won’t be able to assess whether you’ve got a fever from stress/you’re actually sick & endangering yourself/loved ones/the lady at the till.— 珍珠 (@SilindileM_) March 16, 2020
Focus on what is within your control.
You must keep in mind that China “shut down” during a National Spring Festival (iFestive basically) & schools were inevitably going to be closed, businesses were inevitably going to be non-operational. The virus was at large as far back as Dec 2019 and people were unaware and...— 珍珠 (@SilindileM_) March 16, 2020
....still going about their lives being active citizens and “at risk”. The power that you hold now is “being aware”.— 珍珠 (@SilindileM_) March 16, 2020
I have seen us transition here in China from a quiet ghost town with strict curfews and empty shelves in our local supermarkets back into a relatively busy town.
The consistent theme has been the individual responsibility for one’s health&safety— 珍珠 (@SilindileM_) March 16, 2020
Have a “sanitizing station” in your home. Simply placing some hand sanitizer/hand wash with your house keys so you always remember on entry and exit to de-germ will make a world of a difference
Minimize your use of cash/notes/coins (it’s easier here because even your average fruit vendors/tuck shop owner uses WeChat Pay/Ali Pay).— 珍珠 (@SilindileM_) March 16, 2020
Consider “tapping” your card instead of entering your pin.
Carry exact change for your taxi commute.
Plan your shopping to that extent.
Shop for what you need. I go shopping every 11 days so I just mentally meal prep for those days.— 珍珠 (@SilindileM_) March 16, 2020
Be conscious of your diet. Over supplement your immune system. Consider growing your own vegetable garden patch.
I eat a clove of garlic everyday. Religiously. With my vitamins. pic.twitter.com/Quh8ropcGF
If you must work & there is no way around it, make small changes to your regular routine:— 珍珠 (@SilindileM_) March 16, 2020
Take the stairs instead of entering the lift.
Pack your own lunch.
Try keep a clutter free work space.
Minimize hugging and shaking hands with colleagues.
Suggest that security at the parking entrance and door entrances at work/in your home complex scan and record people’s temperature as they come in and out of the building. It’s exactly as one “signing in” a visitor. It feels ridiculous but I live in a campus with a fleet of....— 珍珠 (@SilindileM_) March 16, 2020
...apartments with families living in them &our security scans every single individual who enters the premises— 珍珠 (@SilindileM_) March 16, 2020
It’s a lot stricter in our premises because we have curfew (you’re only allowed outside between 9h00-11h45). But that’s a population control measure necessary for China
The onus feels exhausting but even the old lady selling fruits and veg scans every shopper’s temperature before they come into the shop & pick fruit— 珍珠 (@SilindileM_) March 16, 2020
It’s done when you enter a shopping mall, pharmacy etc
A digital forehead thermometer can be purchased at a local Dischem/Clicks pic.twitter.com/uXFsz3Hcmj
Now, don’t go buying out all the thermometers (I know parents use it for newborns too) but try think of how you can best serve your community with the purchase.— 珍珠 (@SilindileM_) March 16, 2020
Buy one and hand it to your security guard at your boom gate. It probably just eases the nerves of the general public.
Just know that life is (possible) with the virus at large. I can’t teach right now and I understand that because a classroom of 55 babies is just not a safe setting right now. But where wiggle room is possible, people have adjusted.— 珍珠 (@SilindileM_) March 16, 2020
Restaurants just opened a few days ago...
...but they are barricaded at the doorway, you order online and you pick up your food.— 珍珠 (@SilindileM_) March 16, 2020
So for a while, only pharmacies and hospitals were open. Then out grocery stores had strict curfew. Then businesses started opening (excluding mall centers). But it was gradual and slow.
Pharmacies record every individual’s purchase just to ensure that people don’t secretly administer their health at home.— 珍珠 (@SilindileM_) March 16, 2020
I think THRICE before leaving my apartment if I’m “not feeling too good” because I know even the lady at the corner kiosk will take my Temperature & report me
...if I’m the slightest bit sick— 珍珠 (@SilindileM_) March 16, 2020
This might have been a waffle of nothing. But essentially id like my people back home to know that even though we don’t have the best stats, there are ways around the issue
You’ll adjust to the new norm.
Worry about what is within your control pic.twitter.com/W9AJdr0jzn
I might (feel) fine but she might not survive any possible slight contact with the virus.— 珍珠 (@SilindileM_) March 16, 2020
& that sobered me up.
Take care of each other. In the best possible way you can.
I understand that my perspective is drawn from my own privilege (boom gates/complexes etc) but if it is managed adequately at that level of privilege, then it will assist manage the spread to your till workers/domestic assistants/security guards/petrol attendants.— 珍珠 (@SilindileM_) March 16, 2020