The COVID-19 disease has spread to every continent in the world and is no longer a regional issue that can be contained easily. As of writing, there are over 780 thousand people infected with the disease, while nearly 37 thousand people have died from this global pandemic. Many countries across the globe have placed travel restrictions, some have even imposed total lockdowns with the aim of reducing the risk of further infections coming from different regions and abroad. Our authorities have been working tirelessly round the clock to keep the situation controllable, but the number of cases has been increasing sharply in recent weeks. Malaysia has implemented the Movement Control Order (MCO) from 18 March 2020 which limits the movement of all citizens, and the government has warned people against defying this order as it is crucial for everyone to maintain a social distance during this difficult period.
There are a lot of good advice that we can take from the authorities and playing our role as a member of society has never been as critical before. With the global economy seriously affected by this pandemic and other factors like the plummeting oil prices, oil exporting nations such as ours will likely fall into recession. But what does that mean for you and I? For normal members of society like most of us, life goes on in the rat race where we try to make ends meet, to continue giving the best that we can to our family. Of course, the best thing we can do for our family amid the COVID-19 pandemic is to ensure that our families and loved ones are all safe and healthy. The gift of health is priceless, something that means more than anything especially in times such as this. Therefore, we must take the lead by having good habits that will effectively place ourselves and our family at lower risk of contracting infections.
We find ourselves in public places very often and with it, comes being in close proximity and contact with other people. The advisable social distance is 1 meter (3.3 feet) away from the next person to reduce risks. But this is difficult to achieve in many public places such as elevators, meeting rooms, gymnasiums, and queues at retail outlets. Touching door handles, buttons, switches, cash, food trays are all common in a day’s routine. These are also the surfaces that harbour bacteria and possibly the COVID-19 causing virus. The first habit we need to have is to avoid touching surfaces unnecessarily. This is followed by frequently washing our hands with soap and to make sure that every gap between the fingers and also the nails are thoroughly clean before drying our hands. Once we get home, be sure to wash our hands again thoroughly with soap so that we minimize the chances of spreading it to others.
Of all the old and bad habits that we have, now is the time to kick the habit of touching things unnecessarily. Avoid touching escalator handles and railings whenever possible, because these surfaces are touched by the sweaty palms of hundreds of other people, making it a perfect transit for viruses. If you need to push a door open, doing so with your knuckles will be advisable. But most of all, avoid touching our eyes, nose, and mouth without having washed our hands clean. Abstaining from touching food with unclean hands goes without saying. Even at home, we should keep a safe distance and avoid close contact with delivery personnel and guests.
Bacteria and viruses can live on our skin for hours and therefore we need to sanitize our hands if washing with soap is not convenient. Start to make it a habit to sanitize our hands often, after touching things in common areas, we unconsciously touch our faces or even other people and that may assist the spread of viruses. So if you haven’t already, pick up this habit and teach the ones at home too because everyone is at risk and we can fight it together when we sanitize often.
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