In late January, no one living in the Europe countries really cared about the Coronavirus, whereas people living in Asia were literally freaking out about whether they had bought enough face masks or hand sanitiser for daily-use. During that time, it happened to be Chinese New Year as well. Our daily conversation has swapped from ‘Gong Hei Fat Choy’ – our Chinese way of saying 'Happy Chinese New Year', to ‘I couldn’t buy face masks or hand sanitiser. Do you know anywhere they are still in stock?’ People also moved New Year’s plans from hosting it at our grandparent's place, to via Facetime.We would either choose to stay at home, or go out to have celebrations with our family and friends together, but the dining rules would be: ask each other whether we have washed their hands yet, and give each other hand sanitiser before each meal starts and use extra chopsticks for common-use to prevent droplet transmission. Lastly, face masks became a must-wear accessory of our everyday outfit. I guess we're used to using our survival skills following the SARS outbreak back in 2003. So, when the Coronavirus storm hit Hong Kong this year, this consciousness was somehow already sitting in our brain. All of us levelled up our hygiene game and are united together to fight the virus.
Overwhelming vs. ClarityHaving said this, there was still panic buying, and people spreading fake news all over the internet. People would line up at healthcare retailers and pharmacy chains an hour before the stores opened at 9am in the hopes of buying a box of face masks. On top of that, people would go to the supermarket to empty all the daily supplies! You could see all the empty shelves from Instagram's news feed or would hear about it from your neighbour. We all react to our fear and anxiety, and that’s okay. The truth is, we are scared of ‘uncertainty’, including me. None of us have a clear sign when the heck this crisis will be over.