It is March 10, 2020. Almost every individual on the globe has heard about the novel coronavirus aka COVID 19 outbreak. Today, Jamaica had it's first confirmed case of the novel coronavirus. WHO has said that the virus is expected to reach every country in the world eventually. 

So the question is, are you prepared for this virus?

Since this coronavirus is novel and not much is known about it, most Jamaicans have been preparing for a potential outbreak similar to how they would prepare for a hurricane, stocking up on essentials. Here are a few other things you should consider in the event that we are severely affected.

  1. Information

It is very important to be armed with as much information as humanly possible. Because this is a novel virus new information is coming out every day about the virus as the WHO, CDC and other agencies investigate this new virus. Here are some preventative basics you should know:

  1. Wash Your Hands with antibacterial soap for at least 20 seconds after being in a public space.

  2. Use Hand Sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol

  3. Avoid Close Contact with people who are sick

  4. If You’re Sick stay home, cover coughs and sneezes and wear a face mask

  5. Clean and Disinfect surfaces daily

  1. Hand Sanitizers

The coronavirus is one that can be transmitted through droplets. This means that individuals with the virus pass it on through coughing or sneezing. It has been reported that these droplets can last for a week on a surface. So it is vital that you use hand sanitizers and that they have 60% alcohol, as often as possible. Just think about all the public places your hands touch, think about our cultural norm of handshakes and the fact that we prepare, and eat, some foods with our hands. 

  1. Non-perishablesWater

In the event the country is on lockdown, there are items for your home you need to have to sustain yourself and your family. Similar to a hurricane, you will need to have dry items such as canned foods, rice, cereals, oats, snacks and anything that is usually in your cupboard that tends to have a relatively long shelf life. You will also need to stock up on bottled water. Remember that during a hurricane, especially if it is a bad one, you usually have to go days, weeks and even months without electricity and water. You should have that kind of thinking with this virus because if it spreads on a wide scale on our island then there will be little to no manpower to perform and execute tasks in the workplace.

Based on a quick view of the JPS or NWC homepage, there seems to be no action plan in place that has been communicated to Jamaicans in the event that we have a large scale outbreak. So prepare by having lanterns, flashlight, batteries and candles.

  1. Medicine

This is an important item to ensure you have a few months of in stock at home. Pharmacies might be closed for an extended period of time and medication coming into the country might be stalled for a few months after, based on the global impact of this coronavirus. So ensure you get as much medication for yourself and your family as possible in the event of the worse. You may also want to consider stocking up on immune-boosting supplements like vitamin C, echinacea and zinc. Also, it might make sense to get a few bottles of DPH, Histal or any other over the counter cold and flu medication that you would normally use just in case stocks dwindle. 

  1. Faith

Stock up on faith! It is an incredibly powerful intangible commodity. During these uncertain times, it is important not to worry or cause panic but to be prepared as best as you can. Currently, there has been no communication to raise an alarm however it might be smart to pick up an extra tin of corned beef or tuna during your weekly grocery shopping run to start your preparation. You can take an extra precautionary step and purchase your groceries and other preparation items online with CoolMarket. We will deliver your items to your doorstep 2 business days, so you never have to leave home or shop in a crowded environment that increases your risk of exposure.

We wish you well and encourage you to start thinking about how to prepare for this potential threat to our island home. Here are a few resources you may find useful as well:

Also, the WHO provides training (for anyone) on the CORONAVIRUS.