Summatives, choosing a career path, getting that summer bod – these are just a few of life’s stresses. And now there’s coronavirus to worry about. It’s just not fair is it? 

I’ve decided to use my editorial this issue to suggest some ways to steer clear of the virus, and hopefully dispel a few myths as well. We’ll start with the adopted symbol of coronavirus: the surgical mask. Will it protect you from contracting coronavirus? Nope. Will it make you look like you’re about to whack on your rubber gloves and dissect some poor animal in a lab? Perhaps. Of course, if you are ill it’s like having a permanent hand over your mouth to prevent your germs from infecting us all. But it won’t protect you from getting the disease. Sadly, unless you have some sort of super-mask, most everyday masks won’t filter out the virus. 

The best thing you can do is wash your hands. Not just a light sprinkling of water though, I’m talking the full rubbing between your fingers with soap as you sing happy birthday twice under your breath, hoping no one else in the bathroom has noticed you mouthing the words. You should wash your hands more often than usual as well, and especially after eating food, coughing, blowing your nose or sneezing, and once you arrive home or onto campus.

The symptoms of coronavirus are having a cough, a high temperature, or having shortness of breath. That said, these symptoms are fairly similar to that of a cold or the flu, so just because you have them doesn’t mean you have coronavirus. 

However you should call 111 if you’ve been in contact with someone who has confirmed coronavirus disease, or have been to any of these places in the last 14 days: Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Iran, Italy, Japan, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Myanmar (Burma), Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, or the H 10 Costa Adeje Palace Hotel in Tenerife.

If you think you have coronavirus, call 111. Don’t go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Instead, stay inside and try to avoid contact with other people.

One term that many have thrown around is self-isolation. It sounds rather menacing if you ask me. Still, you should only self-isolate if the NHS or a medical professional has advised you to do so. If you find yourself in that position, you should stay at home, don’t go to uni, work or public places, avoid contact with people, and ask friends or family to carry out any errands you have, such as buying medicine or groceries. UEA are also asking that you contact Student Services at studentsupport@uea.ac.uk. There is also a dedicated coronavirus advice page on UEA Portal.

No one at UEA has or is suspected of having coronavirus yet, but just keep washing your hands anyway.

In other news, this issue of Concrete is another great read. From Marco Rizzo’s article in Global, ‘Concerns over plans to drain Congo peat bog’ to Callistra Tijtra’s Comment piece, ‘UEA needs to step up after response to alleged sexual assault’, we’ve packed this issue with another raft of fascinating articles.

I’d also like to congratulate our Global Editor Will Warnes on making it into Amnesty International’s top ten shortlist for Student Journalist for his work on human rights stories in Chile, Hong Kong and China. It’s a fantastic achievement and I hope you’re looking forward to reading more of Will’s work in the future as much as I am!

To finish off with a little Media Collective news, Livewire’s Jailbreak is happening at the end of this week, so make sure you head over to their justgiving page to donate if you can at justgiving.com/fundraising/livewire-135020.

Good luck with your summatives and we’ll see you again for our next issue after the Easter break. Enjoy the paper!


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