Be on guard against coronavirus ‘experts’

face mask

I was at a grocery shop a few days ago when a familiar face (now covering himself with a face mask) at the cashier counter casually struck up a conversation, lamenting the sad state of how Wuhan, China, was currently under lockdown.

“Why do they eat all those strange things? Better not be drinking any bat soup…,” he said.

I courteously smiled while wondering, did the authorities confirm coronavirus originated from bat soup or a dish?

An even more bewildering conspiracy was what my 12-year-old son told me – rumour has it that it was the United States which started this, putting the blame on China because well, for political reasons.

Since the outbreak, everyone seems to be an expert on the disease. And many have also forwarded messages about the virus without verifying the source.

Let’s stop, don’t panic and don’t cause panic.

Yes, we should all be more careful considering the current situation, but there is no need to cause chaos.

While there is nothing to stop us from reading the information, we really should not be relying on random text messages or forwarded voice notes from anyone saying we are all doomed.

Instead, only rely on news from authorities on the current situation.

As of Tuesday morning, World Health Organisation reported more than 20,000 confirmed cases in more than two dozen countries and at least 425 deaths in China and one in the Philippines.

With WHO declaring the novel coronavirus a global health emergency, it is completely normal to be nervous.

As a parent of two young children, I am no different.

“Wash your hands, don’t touch your face…” are the common phrases I repeat these days. But that is really all we can do, that is, take precautions. There shouldn’t be any panic, no one should hoard food or face masks.

On the flipside, people have recovered from coronavirus. As of Sunday, the Chinese health authorities announced that some 475 patients infected with the novel coronavirus had been discharged from hospital after recovery.

With all the misinformation on the coronavirus going around, I found the most amusing one coming from my youngest son who is eight years old.

“Teacher told us that the coronavirus came from an evil witch, called Sour Face. She made a potion which contained the virus, and made a man drink the potion. The man fell ill and had the virus in his body. It eventually spread to other people.

“So, she told us that we must be careful not to eat or drink strange food and water. Instead, eat lots of healthy food like fish and vegetables,” he said, asking me if it was true.

Trying to keep a straight face, I explained to him the virus was discovered in Wuhan City and that it may have been transmitted between animals and humans. As the coronavirus is serious, we should all take precautions by keeping ourselves clean and healthy. And one way is to eat healthy food.

“So I guess she is right. And that Witch Sour Face probably came from Wuhan,” he said.

I, on the other hand, was trying to find a corner so I could laugh as the witch’s name probably came from the faces the teacher saw in her classroom after the Chinese New Year holiday break.

This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Twentytwo13.

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