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COVID-19: Let's Prepare

Do not leave your safety to chance. Should the transmission of COVID-19 remain on its current trajectory, the outbreak will soon pose an immediate threat to all.

The safety of our staff, their families, our partners and customers is our primary concern as COVID-19 continues to spread across many parts the world. Since the outbreak was first announced on 31 December by Chinese authorities, information about the virus has flooded the media and the internet causing worldwide fear, panic, confusion and social stigma.

Despite the World Health Organisation (WHO) saying that COVID-19 is not yet a pandemic, we must intervene. Here, we will discuss the situation and what it means for you to make sure that you understand the threat and can make well-informed preparations. We hope this will also help to reduce any anxiety you may be experiencing.

Reading data:

As of today, there are more than 82,000 recorded cases of COVID-19 around the world and a death toll of more than 2800. The logistic growth rates of known cases, and deaths, have been steadily increasing since the outbreak was first announced. However, there was a spike in new recorded cases on 13 February when more than 15,000 new patients were identified in one day. Almost 79,000 of total known cases are within China, though there are 50 countries and territories that have already been directly affected.

The accuracy of this information must not be relied upon; the actual number of cases is expected to be much higher based on undetected cases, transmission rates and containment issues.

The total number of recorded cases include those who have suffered symptoms and visited a doctor, and those who have been tested after coming in contact with known patients. It is extremely likely that there are many more exisiting—or recovery—cases where patients have not had visible symptoms. While this would suggest a lower mortality rate, it also raises concern as to just how many ‘healthy looking’ people are contagious without showing symptoms. Tracking capacity, available healthcare, quarantine, seasonal influence, and high transmission rates are just a few of the things that lead to the international spread of infection.

As we cannot confirm that all of the available statistics are accurate, it is reasonable to say that there are errors in many published calculations. This includes advice about who is likely to get infected, incubation period, and mortality rate to name a few. Take, for example, the popular equation for mortality rate which divides the number of known cases by death. Many things including incubation period, region, and undetected cases have not been accounted for in this equation. This means that the mortality rate could be much higher, or much lower than expected and is therefore inconclusive. It is information like this that is misleading and causes the panic and anxiety we wish to avoid. We encourage you to critically evaluate new and existing information, keep up to date with live dashboards such as the those available by John Hopkins University, or Worldmeters, and do the maths yourself.

What does it all mean for you?

This is not an outbreak that will burn out on its own and disappear. COVID-19 is already causing societal, economical, and political disruptions around the world. As people start to panic, they stock up reserves and this leads to supply shortages. Already, it is difficult to buy personal protective equipment (PPE) including face masks and sanitisers. Soon, we may experience lockdowns, food and utility shortages and if that happens, it will affect you.

Border control has already tightened around the world and there is increasing tension around what containment methods may soon come into effect. To minimise risk of further infection, national borders may close meaning residents, migrants and tourists will be unable to leave. City-wide quarantines, or even home containment methods such as those taking place in parts of mainland China, are possible. Take time to think about your location and what lockdown means for you. If you are not in your home country, you should prepare to be stuck in that location for an extended period of time. Remember, if family members or loved ones in other countries were to fall ill, there is a real chance that you may not be able to help them.

To avoid contracting the virus, it is important that your immunity is at its best. In particular, improve your lung health by spending plenty of time walking outdoors among nature and regularly take immunity boosters such as Vitamin C. If you contract the virus, home treatment may be necessary as there are simply not enough hospital beds or medical practitioners for everyone; especially to properly treat airborne viruses such as COVID-19 where specialist beds and competent staff are required.

How should you prepare?

To prepare for home care, you should make sure you are well stocked with supplies to manage COVID-19 symptoms. This includes having plenty of medicine available to treat fever and respiratory issues as you may not be able to leave the house until you have recovered. You will need food, and access to water and other fluids high in electrolytes such as low volume alcohol or coconut water. Additionally, we recommend fever tablets, painkillers, a thermometer, antivirals, and antibiotics to reduce the risk of a secondary infection as the virus lowers your immunity.

In addition to storing enough food and drink to last each family member six months, you should have a supply of candles, torches, batteries, and cooking equipment incase of electricity loss, as well as a good kitchen filter and water purifiers should the fresh water supply be interrupted.

It is important that our people keep up to date with details of this virus and try not to panic. The quicker you understand and accept what could happen, the better prepared you will be and the better you and your family will cope if the virus spreads to your region.