Farisai Dzemwa opinion piece column journalist at I Am Birmingham

COVID-19 never prepared me for his coming and before l could say A, B, C ‘the lockdown’ was introduced. Though I was forewarned about the lockdown, I still was not prepared for it either.

It  therefore leaves me wondering if being warned would have made that much difference in terms of preparing for the coming of COVID-19. Would it have made any difference for anyone, come to think of it?

Somehow I doubt it would but I am sure some will insist it would have. This I conclude from the way many have responded to the arrival of COVID-19 and many still continue to blame this one or that one for how it seems to be spiralling out of control.

Many blame China for creating it, while others claim America planted it in China. The theories and speculations keep mounting. The imminent launch of 5G has also been blamed. Many of these claims are unfounded conspiracy theories we should be weary of.

Many are holding their breath, waiting for a scientific solution, some for a medical solution but I am one of those that are choosing to take care while waiting for whatever is going to resolve this pandemic. 

UK coronavirus outbreak news Evening Standard newspaper in London on 06.03.20 by Adam YosefAdam Yosef
A newsstand in London on following the UK outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic

Sadly, we also have a lot who are of a nervous disposition who have become so panicked that they have given up on their own survival on capacity to fight. The large numbers that have died and continue to die just adds on their fear.

I get so wound up by those that are thoughtlessly forwarding and spreading every update they receive on WhatsApp and other social media platforms without due consideration of what havoc it may be causing others. 

If we want to minimise the spread of coronavirus and the number of deaths it causes, my advice  to everyone is to start with one’s self. Love yourself enough to fight for your survival. Many have been saying protect yourself and you are protecting others too which I agree with.

Do the right thing for yourself and you have done your best for the world. Do not wait for the applause that comes from others. If you must, then applaud yourself, as long as it keeps you motivated to keep on the right track.

Set some stimulating and exciting goals for your after ‘COVID-19 life’ that will convince fighting spirit to keep fighting  and save lives in the process. This is the unique time where self care and self love is saving lives.

The UK’s first coronavirus-related death was recorded on 5 March and it took another 13 days for the number of deaths to pass 100Adam Yosef
The UK’s first coronavirus-related death was recorded on 5 March and it took another 13 days for the number of deaths to pass 100

The basic minimum is well manageable by almost all of us and the few that can not manage are surrounded by many that can and are willing to help. My list below constitutes the minimum efforts expected of all:

  1. Stay at home while this lockdown phase is in motion, only going out for necessities such as food topping up, collection and delivery of medication, for exercise purposes, for example, taking short walks daily.
  2. Wash your hands with soap for 20 seconds as soon as you come back in your house after being out. Also do this regularly while at home to increase safety.
  3. Keep a clean house, disinfect work surfaces and wash your clothes in hot water 
  4. Dispose of gloves or protective clothing as soon as you are done with it and in the right way..
  5.  Take care of your mental health by keeping yourself active, motivated and engaged in positive activities such as reading books, playing games, creative activities, or even going through you bucket list so you can tackle those things that can be done indoors.
  6. Cook your meals so you are eating healthy.
  7. Stay hydrated by drinking enough throughout the day. 
  8. Above all, take care of your immunity system by avoiding stress and fear, using  natural remedies like ginger, garlic, lemons and for those that know how, using essential oils in bath water,  in your hot drink or by steaming & diffusing throughout  the house.

UK Government and NHS advice graphic on coronavirusGovUK
UK Government and NHS coronavirus advice

Other actions are possible for those with the right skillset such as frontline workers as highlighted and identified by the government in collaboration with the public health department and other countries that are researching and monitoring the progression of this deadly pandemic. 

As a migrant, I have learned to rely on whoever is available to help me or to collaborate with others in keeping us all safe. To me family is no longer the fantasy of being back in Africa helping my own or being helped by my own.

Needless to say,  it might just be the biggest lesson COVID-19 has taught me. Family is never that far away from wherever I find myself. Global recovery starts that way.

Overthinking it just beats the whole point of uniting against one common problem. ‘United we stand, divided we fall’ is my motto. 


⬤  This article was written by Farisai Dzemwa from Wolverhampton, who is training as a community journalist with Migrant Voice and MiFriendly Cities’ ‘Media Lab’ initiative – a project co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund through the Urban Innovative Actions Initiative. To find out more about how I Am Birmingham is supporting the project, read here.


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