AN IRISHMAN living and working in China has offered a message of hope and guidance for anyone worried about the looming threat of coronavirus on Ireland.
The total number of confirmed cases in the Republic of Ireland stands at 129 with 45 also reported in Northern Ireland at the time of writing.
Two deaths related to coronavirus have been confirmed in Ireland so far.
Schools, colleges and childcare services in Ireland have already closed while the government has also moved to shut pubs and ban large social gatherings in a bid to try and halt the spread of the virus.
More restrictions are likely, with medical experts advising anyone displaying mild symptoms like a cough and/or fever to self-isolate for a minimum of seven days.
While the prospects for the next few weeks and potentially months appears grim, one Irishman who has had first-hand experience of a coronavirus outbreak has shared a message of encouragement for anyone concerned by the outbreak.
Mark Murray lives and works in Jilin Province in China, which he says is “about the same size as Ireland but with a population of 23 million people”.
Ireland’s population is estimated to be around 4.9 million.
Writing in the Facebook Group Corona Virus Updates Ireland, Murray offered up his experience of living in lockdown while offering advice for anyone facing the prospect of self-isolating.
The post titled Just To Keep Your Hopes Up explains how, this time last month, on February 12th, the region he was living in had 93 confirmed cases.
Of that number, one elderly man died and 91 recovered while the final remaining case is being treated in hospital.
On the subject of life during the worst of the outbreak, he writes: “The lockdown for me personally was: Just going out to a public place if really needed. (Like local supermarket)
“Wearing a face mask and gloves when in an indoor public place. (I just used normal woolly winter gloves)
“Washing hands immediately after being outside. (Just normal soap and water. I haven't bought any sanitizer since the lockdown)
“Nobody over here stock piled anything. I don't even understand why this has become a thing. We didn't run out if anything in the shops. (You really are just washing your hands like you normally would)
“Temperature checks are done by staff before entering any indoor public places, like malls, shops, restaurants. (Some took your number, to contact you if anyone that had been there tests positive and you can self-isolate at home.)”
On the subject of “staying in mot of the time” during self-isolation, he adds: “It's boring for sure. But probably the fastest way to beat this thing and have it over with, is to avoid public places, especially indoors, unless really needed.
“That's about it. I've never felt the need to panic. Binge watch your TV shows. Start trying different dishes to cook. Start a little project for yourself at home. Use this time at home to do something you wouldn't normally have time for.
“They've said, as of now, 2 weeks lockdown in Ireland. Don't fight it, there is nothing to be fighting about.
“The more you ignore it, the longer it will take to stop spreading. In turn, lengthening the lockdown. So just follow what is being said from the reputable sources, be smart, DON'T PANIC and it will be gone in no time. Stay safe Ireland!”