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One thing about being at home at a time like this is that it gives one plenty of opportunity to think, discuss and debate the issue at hand.

My standout impressions thus far are that there is a lot of deliberate fear-mongering, some instances of defiance of the authorities who are trying to contain this pandemic, and panic over the supply of food and consumables. We read daily about empty shelves, fights over items such as toilet paper, and pensioners not being able to get the things they need.

The shops will be open and they too are implementing strict measures to ensure the safety of their staff and customers. It’s really commendable how so many are taking responsibility in this way, and it behoves us to take up that responsibility on behalf of our own families and communities. We need to do the right thing to prevent our country and economy from taking an even bigger hit – the same could be said of our fight against corruption.

For that matter, I have to commend our president and government. They’ve stepped up and taken decisive action, while compassionately reassuring us that they are doing their utmost to put people’s health and safety first – an absolute necessity, given the unique vulnerabilities of our population. Indeed, there are other, more ‘civilised’ nations that could take a leaf out of the South African government’s book.

My daughter, who is a paramedic, will be on the roads during this time, along with others who provide essential services. As I write she’s out on a day shift. She’s accepted the fact that she’s likely to contract Covid-19 and bring it into our large household of 11 (including seven dogs). We’re prepared in theory, and if it does happen we’ll do what must be done to prevent it from going further.

She was wondering whether there would be a spike or a drop in their average call volume. Time will tell, but there is much that we as residents can do to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Just like fighting corruption, it does begin with us. Of course, there are factors outside of our control, but each one of us really does have a crucial part to play now.

My message to the reader is to educate yourself. There is a wealth of information out there and it’s always better to know the facts rather than someone’s version of the facts. Read up – from official or reputable sources – everything you can about Covid-19. For example, our own National Institute for Communicable Diseases has a very useful page. In particular, read and become familiar with the regulations that have been put into place. They spell out what may or may not be done. Social media is not a reputable source of information (unless used for sharing official communication)! If you have a question, don’t ask your Facebook buddies unless they can offer a professional opinion!

Read up on how the virus spreads and how it’s evolving to find new ways of transmission, read up on the mortality rate (which is comparatively low, most people will survive), and reassure yourself that there are steps that you can take. Here, too, there is a parallel with the fight against corruption. The government needs every one of us to work with it in this time, because it’s only through a unified and concerted effort that we will get the best outcome.

And please don’t be afraid. We – families, communities, suburbs, towns, cities, countries, and the entire world – are all in this together. We will make it through, hopefully with a renewed sense of compassion and duty towards ourselves and others. And the knowledge that we are not helpless, that our individual actions can make a difference.