What is Coronavirus?
Do you need anything?
Mums At The Table, a ministry of Adventist Media, has launched a private Facebook group to help mums who are having difficulties buying everyday essentials for their family due to the panic buying phenomena brought on by the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
Mental Health Resources
Social distancing can strain mental health. The South Pacific Division Comprehensive Health team is offering free support to members and community during this challenging time.
From Glen Townend
(Credit: Adventist Record. Photo: Daniel Kuberek)
Pastor Glenn Townend, president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the South Pacific, issued the following statement regarding the ongoing spread of the 2020 coronavirus (COVID-19) around the world.
As the number of coronavirus cases continues to rise, we are also seeing a rise in fear and anxiety. This was evident in Australia last week when we saw panic-buying of items like canned food, toilet paper and rice. The world is clearly in a state of flux.
So how should Seventh-day Adventists in the South Pacific respond? I would urge you to focus on three things:
- Prayer: pray for the families who have lost loves ones to this virus and for those who are currently suffering with it; pray for our governments as they grapple with this issue, and for our health workers who are on the frontline treating those affected; pray for the health and safety of our communities, and for the Lord’s intervention to stop the spread of the virus.
- Show Christ-like love and compassion: let’s look beyond ourselves and respond to the needs and concerns of others, especially the elderly and vulnerable. It’s sad to see that some ethnic groups have suffered racial abuse because of the virus. This is never acceptable. Let’s look out for the needs of others (Philippians 2:1-4).
- Good hygiene: take sensible precautions like regular handwashing and follow the advice from your local health authority.
As this situation continues to evolve, let’s maintain a sense of perspective and not get caught up in the hysteria. As Seventh-day Adventist Christians, let’s be beacons of light in our communities, holding fast to God’s promises and pointing people to Jesus as our source of hope in these troubling times.
Ways to help others
We know that in this time of uncertainty, many people are feeling anxious and scared. It’s human nature. If you can and are able to, please check on older neighbors and those that are vulnerable and disadvantage, and do so in health conscious way (see below for tips). Not everyone has people to turn to.
In the short term, we advise consideration of the following measures:
People who have returned from a country or region that is at high or moderate risk for COVID-19 should monitor their health closely. If you develop symptoms including a fever and cough you should isolate yourself immediately and urgently seek medical attention. Go to www.health.gov.au/covid19-travellers for the list of at-risk countries.
People who think they may have been in close contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus, should also monitor their health and seek urgent medical attention.
When cleaning, staff should minimise the risk of being infected with coronavirus by wearing gloves and using alcohol-based hand sanitiser before and after wearing gloves. If cleaning rooms or areas of the workplace where a person with a confirmed case of coronavirus or a person in isolation has frequented, staff may wish to wear a surgical mask as an added precaution. If a confirmed case of coronavirus or a person in isolation is in a room that cleaning staff need to enter, they may ask them to put on a surgical mask if they have one available.
General Preventative Hygiene
Practising good hand and sneeze/cough hygiene is the best defence against most viruses. You should:
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, before and after eating, after going to the toilet and in general. This is not about just running your hands under water: it is about lathering and moving the soap over your skin for a minimum of 20 seconds. Water is used to rinse the soap, not to do the cleaning.
- Avoid touching/rubbing your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Follow the coughing and sneezing etiquette: sneeze into the folded arm; cover your cough.
- Take masks with you when travelling. Should you encounter situations where people cough and sneeze and are in close proximity, don’t hesitate to use your mask (airports, airplane cabin, lobbies, malls, student classes and other gatherings, etc.).
- if unwell, avoid contact with others (stay more than 1.5 metres from people).
- Avoid travel to endemic areas.
General preventative measures around people
- Avoid close proximity – enjoy your personal space and allow other to enjoy theirs. Maintain a social distance—at least 3 feet or 1 metre—between yourself and other people. Avoid close contact with those who are coughing or sniffling.
- Avoid physical touch – whilst we enjoy the handshake and appropriate hug, this is a time to avoid it.
- Have your own supply of hand sanitiser on you.
If the above considerations are observed, at this stage there is no reason to change our regular routines including weekly worship services. It is important to remember that so far, the only people to contract the virus here in Australia have been in contact with people from the hot zone.
While coronavirus is of concern, it is important to remember that most people displaying symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat or tiredness are likely suffering with a cold or other respiratory illness—not coronavirus.
For the latest advice, information and resources, go to www.health.gov.au.
Call the National Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080. It operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you require translating or interpreting services, call 131 450.
The phone number of your state or territory public health agency is available at www.health.gov.au/state-territory-contacts.
If you have concerns about your health, speak to your doctor.
Credit: North New South Wales Conference