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:CHAITRAS BLOG: My quarantine in Oslo

  • :BLOG: Having been working from home since the 13th of March, the fears of this outbreak, coupled with quarantine, got under the skin. The first week of self-isolation changed my sleeping and eating patterns. Luckily, in February, I borrowed ten books from my fav library in town as I had to commute every day, and I enjoyed reading while being on the train. I am privileged because I was well informed about the situation via reliable sources at the right time.
  • First, some background, as I have chronicled:

On November 17, 2019, the first case of COVID19 appeared in Hubei Province in China. Unfortunately, it went unrecognized until eight more cases appeared by December. The researchers noticed it as an unknown virus that includes common flu and SARS. The symptoms included respiratory problems, fever, cough. Like SARS, it is spread through droplets from sneezing, which led to pneumonia and death. 

 

  • Chaitra Shamraya blogs about her experience from working and living in Norway. From the student life in the village of Volda on the Norwegian west coast to the struggle with starting her career as an international journalist and an activist in Oslo and working to establish her Ph.D. project.  In the summer of 2019, she started as a co-worker at Oslo Media House, where she is a very active contributor in journalism, as a speaker, and freedom of speech activist.  

 

Dr. Li Wenliang, a Wuhan - based ophthalmologist who was infected by the virus, decided to release this information to other doctors, and that's how the world learned about this virus. There were few FIR charges against Li for spreading false comments until the case was forwarded to the World Health Organization (WHO) on 31st December 2019. The Huanan seafood market in Wuhan is closed as 44 parents reported having the same illness in the first few days.

On 11 February, WHO named the virus COVID-19, short for “coronavirus disease 2019,” as the count of people infected went up to 43,103 confirmed cases. The virus spread through China and into Thailand, Japan, South Korea, and one new possible case had been identified in Singapore. The members of the Emergency Committee expressed divergent views on the current outbreak considered human-to-human transmission as severe. Initially, as an outbreak, the panic amplified the inhabitants living in those countries. The officials passed the valid information, and preventive measures were taken. 

On March 11, WHO announced that COVID- 19 virus officially a pandemic, as it affected 126 countries in three months. It would have been an epidemic if the Chinese government informed the locals and not suppressed the virus's news, which delayed preventative action. The outbreak has  COVID-19 impacts the elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions most severely. But every individual must practice good hygiene and maintain social distancing, including avoiding crowded places. Solidarity means that we must strictly abide by the regulations and procedures being put in place by health authorities in our countries.

  • Advice for the public who doesn´t have the option work from home (WHO website)

WHO/Europe continues to encourage individuals to take care of their own health and protect others by:

  • washing hands frequently with water and soap or using hand-sanitizing gel;
  • maintaining social distancing (keeping a distance of 1 meter (3 feet) between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing);
  • avoiding touching eyes, nose, and mouth;
  • following respiratory hygiene (covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze, then disposing of the used tissue immediately);
  • seeking medical care early if you have a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing; and
  • staying informed and following advice given by your health-care provider, national and local public health authority, or your employer on how to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.

I have to keep myself updated and check the website worldometer.info almost every day because of my job. I must stay informed and work on creating content based on that but somehow limit exposure to media. The SECOND WEEK of self-isolation was a little stressful, staying grounded and centered helped a lot. I would request you all to limit your news and social media intake to avoid (ignorance is bliss) feeling overwhelmed. I revamped my space, created a workplace, and a nook for the podcast in my apartment. So, if you are cooped up and stressing out, stretch it out!

According to worldometer.info, the first case to be registered in Norway was effective February 26th, and until today, April 16th, there have been 6797 cases in total with 150 death count. After 35days of self-isolation and working from home, taking one day at a time has become my norm now. As dismal as the world might feel now, work-from-home helped me slow down a bit, and with this newfound time, I could shift focus from the external to the internal. These temporary measures are taken to keep you safe. You are not alone, so make the most of technology (educate/self-care/take any course) and stay in touch with colleagues, friends, and family via phone calls, texts, social media, and video conferences. Manage your screen time, and maintain social distancing or social media distancing whatever that makes you happy!

Growing up in India with extreme weather conditions and harsh climate followed by the amount of pollution and bacterias, we are taught of the importance of personal hygiene from an early age like

  • Wash your hands, feet, and face as you enter the house.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze.
  • Avoid touching your face, especially when you are out or traveling.
  • Prevent them from eating roadside stalls, which are the main causes of stomach disorders and water-borne diseases.
  • Stay home if you are sick well after eating from roadside stalls like my dad would say.

Despite social distancing and preventive precautions, COVID 19 has been increasing worldwide and it for two reasons. People have not been following the public advice from WHO or are not hygiene enough, which is what I believe. 

To be continued in the next blog!