22 Mar 2020

Covid-19: The how to of how tos

7:55 am on 22 March 2020

In these Covid-19-stricken times, are you after some advice? We're here for you. Whether it's how to social distance, or how to support your favourite artists, we've got some tips for you.

A sign in a pharmacy about coronavirus

A sign in a pharmacy. Photo: RNZ/ Rob Dixon

First of all, here's the latest official health information. (RNZ is the statutory Lifeline Utility responsible for radio broadcasting under the Emergency Management Act 2002. It has a memorandum of understanding with government which has been activated to help deal with potential health issues related to the pandemic.)

So, Covid-19 (Coronavirus). What is it, where did it come from, and what are the symptoms: your questions answered.

Need to remember more of how all this started? Yes, it really has only been a few months.

Self isolation: what are the do's and don'ts?

Self-isolation means staying at home. The Government has asked all New Zealanders to stay at home to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

You can leave your house to:

  • Access essential services, like buying groceries, or going to a bank or pharmacy.
  • Go to work if you work for an essential service.
  • Go for a walk, or exercise and enjoy nature.

If you do leave your house, you must keep a 2 metre distance from other people at all times.

Meanwhile, why can't I stop touching my face?

"One of those [triggers] is that when people are concentrating on something, and particularly when you're trying to keep your attention focused on a task, often we find people touch their faces at that kind of point. When you're feeling a little bit anxious, that's also another situation where people tend to be touching their faces. And then for very practical reasons, if you're itching or need to adjust your lipstick or whatever."

woman staying up late relaxing at home watching tv and eating pizza

When you're self-isolating, work out a routine. Photo: 123RF

Exercise, fresh air and laughter are vital for surviving self-isolation, writes Kate Montgomery.

"Get out of your pyjamas every morning, and shower daily. (If you're chronically ill, or suffering from Covid-19, you have my permission to move showers to every two or three days. And skip hair washing - God invented dry shampoo for a reason.)"

Think about your pets, as well, [the SPCA says https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/412230/coronavirus-pet-owners-should-prepare-for-getting-sick-spca ].

"If someone is sick, they should arrange for someone else to care for their pet, if possible.

"If they can't do this, as a precaution they should avoid contact with their pets, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food with them."

If you're working from home, self-isolating, or anxious about going into work, what are your rights? And what about employers?

What about talking to your kids?

"Your child will also have picked up on the disruptions the virus causing. Grown-ups seem worried by it... should our kids be? I have no idea what is going down in your world at the moment.

Maybe your business is threatened, or your job is on the line. Maybe this is going to set back your finances for a long, long time. That is serious and grim and you have my sympathy. Will it impact your child? Yes. But I am sure you will still be able to give your child the most essential things she needs."

Stock image representing school psychologist talking to young boy.

Children can be impacted by the anxiety about coronavirus. Photo: 123rf

And look, stuff is pretty scary. Being anxious seems pretty reasonable. But if your anxiety is out of control, how can you take care of yourself?

"It's all around us... there are experts talking about it, it's new and it's uncertain, every day and often every hour we're getting fresh updates. So of course you're going to be anxious.

"And you have to remember too that for many people dying is their greatest fear. So the end game for coronavirus is death, and people often can't move their thoughts away from that."

Ooof. On to less morbid, though still pretty tough, thoughts. Performing artists are doing it pretty tough right now. How can you support them?

"The thing about music is the passion that runs through every discipline. It's not just the artists, we're talking about mangers, promoters, roadies, audio checks.

"Everybody who's in it really loves what they do and they're passionate about it. However, it's not a lifestyle that provides a lot of padding for shocks and this is a shock quite unlike anything the industry has faced before."

Need some music to listen to while you're self isolating? RNZ Music has you covered.

  • If you have symptoms of the coronavirus, call the NZ Covid-19 Healthline on 0800 358 5453 (+64 9 358 5453 for international SIMs)

Read more about the Covid-19 coronavirus: