We are currently living in an extraordinary time. The rapid spread of COVID-19—often known as coronavirus—has been unprecedented, affecting every aspect of our lives. Even in New Zealand, where we have been relatively sheltered from the rest of the world, we are feeling the effects on every level, including on a personal level.
With so much uncertainty there is, understandably, a palpable sense of fear and anxiety about what will happen to our country, our economy, our jobs, and more importantly, to us and those we love.
We have two clear choices: We can be overrun by fear, or we can exercise calm and resiliency. One of the more apparent things about this pandemic is that we are only going to overcome it as a nation and as a world by exercising reasonable caution and working cooperatively together. This requires we keep our cool and make good rational and scientific decisions.
Part of the solution is exercising care for ourselves and others. This includes, of course, washing our hands and covering our sneezes and coughs. We need to be kind to people, including checking on our neighbours. If someone we know is self-isolating, offer to get them groceries, for example. If someone is feeling anxious or stressed about the virus, offer a listening ear or a reassuring word. Remember that it is of no help and does no good to finger-point and blame a cohort for this virus; this will only breed more fear, more anger, and more tension, which is the last thing we all need right now.
There is a large spread of misinformation which only seeks to generate panic, so I advise you to keep up-to-date with trusted and reliable sources – the same ones which the Government rely on for information: The World Health Organization (WHO) and the New Zealand Ministry of Health are good places to start. As I write, there is also a new dedicated Covid-19 website which is worth checking out – covid19.govt.nz. It has some very good advice.
Of course, if you are unsure or have any questions or concerns you would like to share with me, please contact me or my office.
I understand the increased stress and anxiety at such times, so I encourage you to look after yourselves and to look out for each other, and to seek extra support if you need it. Although a challenging and unpredictable road lies ahead for all of us, we as a nation can, and will, overcome this together.