By LEANDRA ROLLE
LUANETTEE Colebrooke, a Bahamian student living in Wuhan in China, is in survival mode following the outbreak of the deadly new coronavirus, which has now been declared a global health emergency.
Giving an update on Facebook on how she keeps her and her family safe, Mrs Colebrooke says she and her children follow many safety measures to safeguard against contracting the virus.
“I place everything away in their right places and then disinfect. My number one choice of disinfectant is just normal white vinegar and distilled water. It kills many things and is children safe. This is cleaning every other day,” she posted on Facebook yesterday.
“Once a week, I use the heavy-duty stuff such as Welch (equivalent of Dettol) to wipe down the counters and floors.
“I wash my dishes in warm soapy water and some white vinegar. I wash all food that is not in a can with a mixture of white vinegar and water and let it soak for about half an hour. Then rinse them thoroughly. We also peel the skin off of the fruits and vegetables that we can.”
Mrs Colebrooke also has strict rules for when she and her children leave home to visit the grocery store.
“First, we wear layered clothing. It is still winter, so it’s normal to wear layers. Second, we then place our jackets and hats on. Third, we put on our shoes. Fourth, we place on our masks. They have protective masks for children and adults,” she said.
“So, I put one on myself first so they can see mummy wearing one, then I put it on them, so they feel safer and not pull it off automatically. Fifth, I put on our winter gloves and place the little (ones) either to the baby strap on or in the stroller.
“The final and last thing we do is grab our bag with our reusable bags for any groceries I buy.
“These are only some of the precautions that I do with my little (ones) before we go outside.”
Since its outbreak in Wuhan, China, the virus has killed over 170 people and sickened thousands worldwide, with cases already found in the United States, Canada, Thailand, France, Japan, South Korea and Australia, according to international reports.
To date, there have been no reported incidences of the virus found in The Bahamas or among Bahamian students living in Wuhan.
However, according to Health Minister Dr Duane Sands, a number of those students have since expressed a desire to evacuate the city. However the logistics of how this will happen have not been worked out.
There are currently nine Bahamian students studying in Wuhan, the epicentre of the virus, but only five remain in the city as schools in China are on break, according to a Ministry of Foreign Affairs statement on Saturday.
Dr Sands has said the Ministry of Health is “building on the foundations” of its “preparedness efforts” for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), the H1N1 virus and Ebola to prepare for the new strain of the coronavirus.
Meanwhile, speaking further on her preparedness efforts, Mrs Colebrooke added: “In all honesty, living in The Bahamas for a good part of my life has prepared me for natural disasters indirectly. I always have extra cans and dried goods at home such as pasta and rice, canned condensed milk, tea, crackers, extra water and gas to cook, flashlights for if power goes out and candles.
“Changing clothes is normal as well for us in The Bahamas because after coming home from school we were always told to take off our outside clothes, go get cleaned up (wash hands and face) and dressed. So, this reminds me of hurricane season.”