South Africa has one full day left before we go into national lockdown due to the international Covid-19 outbreak. People are preparing to spend the coming three weeks in isolation at home. We will only be allowed out of our homes to buy essentials, like food and medicine. I thought I’d use this blog as a journal over the lockdown period. Coronavirus has been in the news since December, but things “got real” very quickly this month.
A few weeks ago we were told, at work, that we should get ready to work remotely, i.e. from home. Many of us, including myself, have successfully worked from home before so it is no strange concept to myself and my colleagues. Then, beginning March, the first Covid-19 infections were reported on, and people urged to take precautions such as very fastidious hand-washing, and the use of hand-sanitizers.
We were told we should still be at work during the day, no working from home yet. Then, on Monday, after I rode 140km home and back for a laptop power cable, I arrived back at work only to be told I was to go and work from home until further notice.
I have been keenly watching the international outbreak of Covid-19; people overseas were panic buying toilet paper, for reasons only the gods know, and things like hand-sanitizer. These two items are in short supply here, I have seen some empty toilet paper shelves, but I haven’t seen anyone panicking. Far from it in fact – some people don’t seem to understand this is a deadly virus and continue to gather and socialize, all the while being inundated with advice not to do so.
Today I went out after finishing work at home, for some last-minute groceries and to fetch some contact lenses. It was very busy out – it seems like many people are just off work, not working at home, because it looks like everyone is out shopping. It was much busier than two days ago when I was out, on my first day working from home. Following social media and observing people, I expected worse crowds than there were, but as I had read, some stores were only letting one person in when one comes out.
Let’s wrap up this opening post with me saying I’m very happy to be living in South Africa, because the way we, and our leaders, have been dealing with this unprecedented crisis.