Sat | Jan 16, 2021

Don’t panic, Jamaican teacher in China warns

Published:Monday | March 16, 2020 | 12:26 AM


For Ashley Thompson, a Jamaican teacher who has been in quarantine now for 64 days in Zhengzhou, a measure instituted by the Chinese government to curb the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), there have been some valuable lessons learned.

Thompson, a self-confessed introvert who admittedly didn’t have a clue about how the outbreak would impact her life, said that the last thing anyone should do was panic.

“Find out as much information as you can about quarantines in your area, access to medical care, access to food and medication in the event that your quarantine lasts more than 14 days,” she told The Gleaner.

Urging Jamaicans to stay inside as much as possible and to avoid contact, she suggested commonsensical measures like using elbows and feet to push doors instead of hands. She also advocated for home cooking and the use of non-processed food.

And noting that while some experts are saying that only sick people should wear masks, Thompson said that in China, everyone is told to wear protective gear.

“Masks act as barriers for direct touching of the nose and mouth. If you don’t have masks, get creative and make something to cover your nose and mouth,” she added.

Thompson said that once persons find that they have been in contact with someone who is ill, they should religiously monitor their temperature daily.

Any change in temperature, she added, should be taken seriously and medical help sought afterwards.

China’s National Health Commission says that the country now has 80,735 total infections, with 19,016 patients still undergoing treatment and 58,600 released. More than 3,000 have died.


1. If you must go out, after returning home, take off your clothes and shoes at the door and wash your hands immediately, as well as sanitising your phone and keys.

2. Use bleach, Lysol, and other disinfecting agents to wipe down door handles, grilles, and gates.

3. The wearing of gloves will not prevent you from getting the virus into your nose and mouth as the virus will be on the gloves themselves. You will also be contaminating other surfaces while wearing the gloves. Protect your eyes, nose, and mouth at all costs.

4. Employees should immediately check their contracts to ensure that they will be receiving salaries for days not worked. Consult the labour ministry if you’re unsure.