A Christian Response:
As Christians and as a church we also have a distinctive role to play; a role which goes beyond public health. Below are some simple steps we can all consider in the coming days, weeks and months.
1) Check on your vulnerable friends and neighbours. Would you know if they were self-isolating? Do you have each other’s phone numbers? A good time (and good excuse) to swap contact details with your neighbours.
2) Don’t stockpile, or people with medical conditions who need extra toilet roll, painkillers, face masks or hand gel all the time will suffer if they can’t get them or the prices become ridiculous. Also, face masks only stop an affected person passing on the virus if *they* wear one, most of them will not stop you from getting it if *you* wear one. As for hand sanitiser, your chances of avoiding the virus are increased if everyone else can keep their hands clean as well so sharing is better than hoarding.
3) If you have these resources, consider who you could share them with.
4) Some people who are self-employed or have no sickness cover in their contract will suffer financial hardship if they have to self-isolate. Consider giving to charities like Foodbank that will support them.
5) Stay calm and help keep others calm.
6) Challenge racism: it is ugly and unnecessary. This virus does not target and is not caused by a particular race, just because someone has a different accent does not mean they have just come from abroad and it is hurtful to minorities if they are unfairly treated with suspicion.
7) Make a plan for if you have to self-isolate. Think about the support you might need. Help vulnerable people you know to do the same.