We’re being told to work from home.

As of today, February 9, there are 40 confirmed cases of the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCov) in Singapore.

I got an email earlier today from our workplace team. We are now being asked to work from home until at least Friday, February 14. It’s a precautionary measure and the communication is clear from our workplace team. We use video conferencing heavily to connect with colleagues worldwide. It will be business-as-usual for the most part.

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What are the effects so far?

  • Working from home – this is a normal facility available in tech companies, but this is the first time we are being asked to work from home.
  • Wearing of masks – although health agencies are asking the public to wear masks only if you are feeling unwell, I prefer to wear a surgical mask when on public transportation out of anxiety. I estimate about a third of the public are in masks now.
  • Harder to buy masks – I have a box of surgical masks that I share with PJ. I’ve no intention to hoard or take any more than what I need, but when you ask for masks at the pharmacies (Watsons or Guardian), they are sold out. A box I ordered online on ezbuy was also cancelled due to no supply. The government has issued masks to Singapore households (up to four masks per household). We haven’t collected ours yet. But also mindful that there are six of us in this house.
  • Extra precautions to reduce germs – I wash my hands with soap and water more frequently and more thoroughly, I apply ethyl and isopropyl alcohol (Green Cross brand) when I’m at home, I have hand sanitizer with me at all times.
  • Mobility and daily activity affected – starting this week, I am reducing time at malls and crowded spaces (opting to finish reading books at home, going to nearby parks, etc.).

We are entering our third week in Singapore where the virus is slowly affecting daily life. It’s not dramatic. I was at a park connector yesterday with PJ and we also had a great time at the newly-renovated Great World shopping mall.

However, panic buying happened this past weekend when the Disease Outbreak Response System Condition or DORSCON was elevated to Orange (one level below Red). Here’s an infographic about what it means:

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This outbreak has seen some triumphs and some embarrassing moments. It’s great to see people and communities come together to fight an unknown disease. It’s inspiring to see those on the frontline (in Wuhan, in hospitals everywhere). It’s disgusting to see those who disseminate sensational or unconfirmed news and photos, those who are hoarding (fine, panic buying is panic buying… but I’ve seen photos of actual hoarding = like taking the whole shelf)… and of course, racism.

I’ll share updates on my blog. This is not how I want to celebrate my 8th year anniversary in Singapore. But it is what it is. Stay safe everyone. ❤

My resource for updates on the coronavirus situation in Singapore is the website of the Ministry of Health (MOH): https://www.moh.gov.sg/2019-ncov-wuhan

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