Some say, it is not if the COVID-19 coronavirus comes to Palau but when it comes to Palau, an inevitable reality. So, if we find out like Guam that there is a positive case in Palau, how are we going to react?
I hope that we would act as typical practical Palauans usually act. We would take stock of our family first and see how vulnerable we are. Do we have the elderly? Do we have young children? Do we have people with pre-existing conditions such as diabetes, heart problems, any other illnesses that have compromised their immune systems?
Then we plan for ways to ensure that our weakest family members are safe, in other words, self-isolate or make sure that they don’t go out into public, stay at home, and have soap and water everywhere to ensure cleanliness.
We would minimize our public trips to stores, kemeldiil, campaigns, or whatever public gathering to ensure that we don’t bring the virus home to our loved ones. We would restrict our activities outside in public places to necessity only.
If we have to work outside, that we become actively aware of everything around us and consciously exercise safe and hygienic practices such cleaning our hands with soap and water after touching public surfaces and avoid hugging, shaking hands and other physical contacts that may expose us to the virus.
Send our money to kemeldiil or house party or omengat without going ourselves, again to minimize exposure.
Buy what we need but not hoard unnecessarily, thinking of our extended family members and neighbors who may need food and stuff as badly as we do. Just because we self-isolate or try to minimize exposure to the virus does not mean we become cold-hearted or lose our Christian values of loving our neighbors and helping those in need.
Most of all, let us use our common sense in all things. Blaming others, blaming ourselves, wishing for what could have been done are all exercises in futility and drain us psychologically and spiritually and does nothing to resolve crisis at hand.
Rather than waiting for a positive coronavirus case to be announced before we exercise all of the above, why don’t we start now? Me lak bodouchelruriul.