26 March 2020

Day 1 of lockdown due to COVID-19

Tonight marks the end of the first day of a 4-week nationwide lockdown due to COVID-19. It still feels so surreal, like we're taking part in some experiment and that this is not our current reality.

In the lead-up to today, people have been panic-buying inspite of the government's assurance that supermarkets and other essential businesses will remain open. We did not go all out ourselves, but just bought some extra items so we don't have to go out too soon to replenish. The irony of it all was that people were so close in proximity to each other that chances of getting infected would have exponentially increased!

Needless to say, stocks of pantry staples quickly became scarce. All sorts of rice have gone, even those for sushi. We were planning to cook pasta on some days, but those flew off the shelf too!

As we prepared to work from home, I was starting to discover that my daughter's desk was not a good fit (not enough leg room, desk space, etc) so I decided to drop by the local office supplies store to get one. This is what I found:

I had to order online instead, as nearby branches have also sold out.

On the day before the lockdown, social distancing started to become the norm. The queues were longer but were now more orderly. Customers were requested to wipe down the trolley handles and to disinfect hands before entering the supermarket.

The queues were extraordinarily long. There was a 150% jump in supermarket sales, and this is comparing with the busy Christmas season.

A virus scare though won't deter plant parents from bagging a bargain. Monsteras were being sold at half price at a Bunnings, so I did a little lunch trip to buy one for a friend. Nada. Hoping not to waste the trip, I dropped by KMart to buy some weights for home exercises. All weights gone! It was seriously ridiculous. And you should have seen the McDonald's drive-thru!

These are uncertain times indeed. I've actually been working from home since the start of this week, so there's a bit of normalcy there. The added bonus is that I can finally play music while working, and have my lunch on a plate instead of a lunchbox. But when you're alone working by your desk, you don't notice the time and it's a bit difficult to squeeze in some stretching or rest breaks.

Day 1 has been uneventful so far. Lots of work... it's actually even busier than when I'm in the office. But starting tomorrow I'll try to set some stretch breaks. That desk I ordered couldn't  come soon enough.

Today, there are 78 new cases here in New Zealand, bringing the total to 283.

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