It feels like an age ago since I last posted and it’s a new world we now find ourselves in. I never thought I’d live in a time where a global pandemic would strike, but here we are. It has hit home this weekend with the Banyule Festival being cancelled as well as my children’s usual Saturday morning sport. Rather than being ‘out there’, the coronavirus is now here on our doorstep.
There’s never been a greater need to stay calm and to plan and prepare, while we still have time, to minimise the challenge that is on its way. My media and communications colleagues at La Trobe have spent the past few weeks and months in critical incident team meetings planning for all the different scenarios, including the one which emerged this week. Many workplaces have also enacted their crisis management plans with Telstra instructing two thirds of their entire workforce to work from home for the next two weeks. Much of its workforce has already been doing this on a regular basis in terms of business as usual so they are well placed to weather the storm in terms of moving entirely to working online.
As for me, working at a university where there has been one positive case is unsettling, however we can only continue as instructed by our leaders who have consulted with leading health experts from all the relevant areas and follow their advice. Like our fellow teaching and medical professionals including friends who are nurses (my personal frontline heroes), academic and professional staff at the uni are being asked to step up and keep going.
I think a state-wide (and possibly national) shut down is imminent and it may now be a question of when so my advice would be to ensure you stock up grocery-wise without panic buying (knowing that essential services like supermarkets and chemists will stay open) and be prepared to receive a text or email from your childcare centre, kinder, school or workplace at short notice regarding moving to online learning or working from home (if you can). Social distancing and getting on to things early have helped countries like Singapore and Hong Kong deal with coronavirus better than others.
I think if you can look at a prolonged confinement period at home in a positive light, it may be an opportunity to catch up on your reading, podcast or movie list or sign up for some online learning. Or tackle other life admin like de-cluttering, paperwork and all those odd jobs around the house you never seem to find time to do. If you’re a cook or gardener, some time spent cocooning at home may be an unexpected boon. I’ve also been loving some of the scenes of Italians singing together from their balconies that are doing the rounds on Facebook. If you are a creative and imaginative person, then there are all sorts of possibilities.
Don’t forget to exercise, keep up your liquids (especially hot water and tea) and spend time in the sun, living in the present. It is a gift to be alive and health is wealth; this has never been more apparent than now. Time to assemble people…