Fri | May 29, 2020

Don’t panic over COVID-19! - Jamaican in China gives tips on how to survive the current health crisis

Published:Wednesday | March 25, 2020 | 12:09 AMVanessa James/Gleaner Writer

At present, in many homes and workplaces throughout Jamaica, there exist fear and panic over the coronavirus (COVID-19) and the harm it can cause to the body. The virus is known to have started in China, and has crossed borders, infecting and killing thousands along the way.

However, according to Tashania Bent, a Jamaican living in China, there is hope, as there are ways to reduce the chance of contracting COVID-19.

Bent recalls that she was on vacation in Bali when she first heard about the virus, and when it was time to leave, she pondered whether to return to China or Jamaica. She ultimately decided to go back to China because of what she described as the Jamaican Government’s inadequate response to help citizens who reside in China.

“When I first got back to Qingdao City (which is a part of the Shandong Province), I had no idea what to expect,” Bent said. “My Chinese friends kept telling me not to come back, and most of the foreign teachers that I had known (from the US) had gone back home, but my boss kept reassuring me that things weren’t as bad in my city, and I just figured I could’ve handled whatever it (the virus) threw at me.”

She explained that her return was during the time the virus was at its peak and she had to self-quarantine for 14 days. This self-quarantine included sending her temperature to her boss daily.

Keep in touch with loved ones

Bent said while the fear being experienced by some is understandable, panicking only makes the situation worse, and suggested that keeping in touch with loved ones could help, as it did for her.

“I think it’s a normal human reaction to be fearful of the unknown, but I feel like there is also a lot of misconceptions where this virus is concerned that are clouding judgements,” she said. “Panicking does not help; the best we can do is come together as a community and try to support each other in this time of need. One thing that kept me afloat was constant communication with other Jamaicans facing the issue, and my loved ones. That’s what really kept me grounded.”

She told The Gleaner that she was not very concerned about China’s current situation as they are slowly recovering from the coronavirus outbreak.

“I think things are on a steady path to getting better. The recovery rate is currently at over 90 per cent for most of the provinces. Yeah, I’m no longer worried about China at this point, they’ve been through the worst of it,” she stated.

Her recommendation to Jamaicans as we start to see the first wave of this pandemic is to listen to those in authority, where credible information on the virus can be found, and not on the uncensored information that is on social media.

Along with the tips from the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Bent suggested the following:

• Cough in your bent elbow, not in the palm of your hands.

• Make sure the lid of the toilet is closed before flushing.

• Wash your hands thoroughly and as often as possible.

• Try not to touch your eyes or mouth.

• Disinfect clothes and shoes every time you leave the house; try not to mix it with clothes you’ve never worn before.

“In this time, it’s imperative that you not only consider your well-being but also the well-being of each and everyone around you,” she implored.“The best thing to do is follow the necessary precautions and try to make your home as comfortable as you can. Just be prepared for whatever might come.”

vanessa.james@gleanerjm.com