With the whole world being close to being affected by COVID-19, in the advent of being overly-cautious and consciously aware of whom you are around, who you associate with and where you go to; are we being paranoid or are we just at the right level of careful?
“Our government is usually so slow with making decisions about things, so the fact that they shut down public gatherings, schools, etc so quickly heightened our fear. We were already worried; we have family in Australia and in South Africa, so when cases were confirmed here and even celebrations shut down, we went into full panic mode for a while,” says Marlene Damons, mother of 2.
Jerome Smit, a self-proclaimed optimist says he is “taking it cool. We have gone through pandemics as the world before, and we have overcome them. For the time being, despite the restrictions, we are still able to move pretty much freely. I suggest we get enough to last us 3 or so weeks and then wait until the next announcement by government. I read this thing about how isolation from society can help you stay healthy and so me and my wife and kids are doing that. We got a trolley full of stuff, we got some games; and as much as possible we are going to stay at home and not expose ourselves to risk during this time. I really hope the majority of (people in) the country do this too. It will help to keep the numbers in Namibia really low.”
According to the New York Times, “On Sunday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended against any gatherings of 50 or more people over the next eight weeks, in an effort to contain the coronavirus pandemic.”
In Namibia that number also is 50 while in South Africa, its 100. Public schools, libraries, universities and many places of worship, and sporting and cultural institutions are shut down for at least the next few weeks after Namibian President Dr Hage Geingob announced a state of emergency earlier this week.
These measures are an attempt to enforce distance between people, a proven way to slow pandemics. People have also been urged to practice voluntary ‘social distancing’.
Josefina Haitopi is worried, but says she has no choice but to leave her house every day. “Some of us we are working in people’s houses. For now my boss is saying that I should just come. She is giving me gloves and if I am not alone in the house then I wear a mask. For me, I cannot leave the job, what will I eat? Even now, as schools are closed, we are struggling; how now if I leave the job. I will go come. I don’t have choice.”
Working in the retail industry is very hard says Charmaine Beukes, because of the carious people she gets into contact with.
“I don’t know who they are or where they come from or who they have been in contact with. And we are afraid; we wear masks and gloves, but still, we don’t know if those things are even doing anything to help us if there is actually somebody coming in with an infection. A person who is infected might go all around the shop and touch a lot of things and then us, when the shop is closed and we are doing back shopping or something, how will we know that we are at risk? Even the next person who comes to touch that same thing that the sick person touched, how will they know that they are at risk? I think we must just give a date that all the shops will close.”
Sharon Mbasa, walking alone and rushing to the store is simply afraid. “When we heard on Sunday that the schools will be closed, then we were just happy and excited, but now we are scared.”