Important note: This blog was written before many government announcement and changes around the world, including: state of emergency declarations, border closures, air travel closures, social distancing and stay at home orders. This blog was written to show my experiences during the week of March 5-13, 2020 before the WHO (World Health Organization declared Covid19 as a Pandemic).
The world is facing another virus scare and in just the past month, we have seen a rapid increase in the spread of cases around the world and in many unexpected places since its place of origin. Now the World Health Organization has declared it a pandemic and the world is feeling the anxiety, especially with panic shopping in the US and Canada. As a Canadian travelling in Asia during this pandemic, I have learned how to function everyday prior to the announcement by the WHO.
Before going to Asia, we purchased Lysol wipes, hand sanitizers, gloves and of course I was able to get some different kinds of masks (N95 and surgical) thanks to my mother-in-law who works as a nurse. We made sure to wipe down our area in the plane, including screen, table, belt and arm rests. I travelled to the Philippines with my family and thankfully upon arriving we already learned of the precautions that were being taken, which made us feel more safe. Some measures already in place were temperature taking when entering residences like our accommodations staying in a condo, all shopping centres and public transit stations. Also, everyone is giving hand sanitizer when entering these places. There is many signage as well reminding people of the symptoms and what to do in case, but also how to prevent.
While travelling here in the Philippines, we discovered on the local news that the government placed a lockdown to the Metro Manila area where we are staying, which meant that all domestic travel both air and land would be suspended starting on March 15, 2020, in order to avoid the spread of the virus. We had booked to travel outside Manila to a beach town located 5 hours away, so unfortunately had to cancel our plans. We were thankfully able to avoid a cancellation fee and no issues. We also noticed that most shopping areas and restaurants are now experiencing less crowds and generally less people so it shows that many are staying home more. As a tourist, this actually makes me feel better not being around so much people and having more personal space (important for a Canadian lol). The media informs people to not panic shop and to buy only what you need for 3-4 days and have mentioned that there is more than enough supply for everyone. When I research online how to prepare, it’s different depending on where the information is coming from in the world.
Here in Manila, there is actually plenty of toilet paper in stores, but this has a lot to do with the Filipino culture which the rest of the world should follow too. Filipinos actually use a water pale (known as “tabo”) to wash yourself after using the toilet, this saves on paper and panic in buying loads of toilet paper, when the most eco- friendly solution is water. So here in the Philippines there isn’t a shortage of toilet paper like some parts of the world. So now this brings me to my list of what to get when preparing for this pandemic.
List of essentials for items preparing for a Pandemic:
4. Hand Sanitizer and hand wipes
5. Disinfectant wipes for cleaning surfaces (Like Lysol brand wipes).
6. Tissue (packages and boxes)
7. Canned goods including: beans, pasta sauce, vegetables, tuna, soups.
8. Frozen vegetables and fruits
9. Dry foods including: rice, pasta, quinoa, ramen, cereal, etc..
10. Healthy snacks like nuts, energy bars, roasted chickpeas, organic popcorn, etc.
11. Coffee, teas and boxed almond or coconut milks
12. Some indulging snacks to make us happy, cause we need that too (chocolate or whatever you enjoy).
13. Nut butters, butter, jams
14. Medical supplies that include: thermometer for taking temperature, medicines for fever and the flu, and prescription drugs.
There is no toilet paper on my list cause you can survive without it! There is no need to go crazy buying this and don’t be panic buying this item, relax!
My list of how to prepare for a Pandemic.
• Avoid watching the news constantly and give yourself a break from social media. I was watching too much of the news before I left for my trip which caused me so much anxiety that was unnecessary. I haven’t felt anxiety in years until prior to my trip, but now I’m fine.
• Always wash hands or use sanitizer especially when travelling on public transit or using public bathrooms, always remember to wash/sanitize hands. Sadly I still witness people using the public washroom and not washing their hands, makes me want to yell and scream!
• Avoid touching your face. This is why I continue to use a mask cause I want to prevent myself by accidentally doing this.
• Wear a mask if you are sick, but also prevention. I know not many will agree to do this, but what will you do if someone sneezes or coughs near you without covering? Here in Asia it’s very common but I know in the western world it’s not, but do what makes you feel safe and wearing it makes me feel better.
• Take time to take care of yourself. Do things to make you feel calm, like meditate, do yoga, take deep breathes and go for a walk.
• Try to avoid touching when having social interactions. This one may be hard but for now, I wave and peace sign can do.
• Get started on your spring cleaning, which will help to refresh and sanitize your home even more! Having a clean home is a healthy home.
I hope this was helpful as I’m sure you have all heard or read enough info. on this but thought I would share since I am experiencing this epidemic in Asia at the moment. Stay healthy and safe everyone!