Friday April 03 , 2020
2020 – a new decade and a year many will remember forever.
In January the Coronavirus disease, now more commonly known as Covid-19, was declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organisation.
People are researching symptoms, setting up vital contingency plans and humming the Happy Birthday song to wash their hands.
Covid-19 is a rapidly spreading virus that originated in Wuhan City, China. The Chinese government responded and placed Wuhan and neighbouring cities on immediate lockdown to try to contain the virus.
As the virus spread across Europe and across the world, countries have gone into complete lockdown. Shops, bars, restaurants, schools and offices are closed and cities are like ghost towns. In the UK people have resorted to panic buying clearing shelves of food and antibacterial products. Bizarrely, the UK has gone toilet roll mad. Who knew toilet roll would be the go to product of choice for a respiratory and flu like virus!
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Monday night that all UK residents must stay at home to slow the spread of Coronavirus. People are only advised to leave their home for one of the following reasons:
- shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible.
- one form of exercise a day – (a run, walk, or cycle) – alone or with members of your household.
- any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person.
- travelling to and from work, but only where absolutely necessary and this cannot be done from home.
Covid-19 predominantly affects the lungs and airways and symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath and loss of taste and smell. ‘In extreme cases these can develop into pneumonia, kidney failure and sadly fatalities.
The level of uncertainty surrounding Coronavirus is astounding, medical professionals are struggling to cope with the spread of the virus and placing enormous strain on medical staff and resources. There is currently no vaccine or cure for Covid-19. However, the race is on to find it with human testing not far away.
There are several steps the public can take to avoid catching or spreading Coronavirus.
- wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
- always wash your hands when you get home or into work
- use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
- cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
- put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards
- Social Distancing – avoid use of public transport, work from home.
- do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
- Do not under any circumstances follow the rumours and myths that are circulating about treating the virus: Eating garlic to avoid infection, (whilst it is good for you it is not a cure), drinking water every 15 minutes (whilst drinking water is good to keep hydrated it will not stop Coronavirus), don’t eat ice cream (if you like it eat it but just not in industrial quantities) drinkable silver (NO NO NO this could cause serious side effects). Stick to official health advice from the National Health Service or official government websites.
- Hold house parties because the pubs are shut. Be sensible, avoid groups and this is not the time to think you are invincible; you’re not.
- Anyone with symptoms including a new continuous cough and high temperature as well as other flu like symptoms should self-isolate for at least 7 days. To protect yourself and others, do not go to a GP, pharmacy or hospital. Anyone over 70 must self-isolate.
The situation remains fluid and is changing by the hour.
The Economic Emergency
The travel industry is in turmoil, flights cancelled, holidays cancelled, people stuck in destinations with no means to get home. Some are even being put out of their hotel accommodation. What can you do and what should you look out for?
The Coronavirus outbreak has also had a serious impact on our finances. £550 billion has been wiped off the stock market. We are now seeing state intervention on a scale never seen before to support workers and businesses. Check our blog on your financial position and what you can do. Some banks are hiking up overdraft rates despite the interest rate being 0.1% the lowest it has ever been.
Many travel insurance providers have stopped selling travel insurance to new customers as a result of the outbreak. Check out our blog on the insurance effects and you.
In recent weeks, UK petrol stations have seen one of the biggest reductions in diesel prices since 2000 as Coronavirus fears affect energy prices. Check what you can do to help you with electricity and gas which your homes depend on.
Lastly, there have been endless good Samaritan stories of people setting up WhatsApp groups to help people in their areas. For everyone, look out for each other young and old. If you know of people who are self-isolating, offer to get what they need and leave it at their door. If this whole thing is scaring you, look after your mental health. If you are struggling, talk to friends and family, lift the phone to someone and above all, Stay Safe and stay at home.