An Okanagan man living in the Philippines is reaching out to let B.C. residents know what it’s like living through the COVID-19 pandemic abroad.
Kevin Bennett is from Peachland and is the president of ZipZone, a ziplining company based in the Okanagan. He has been living in the Philippines since before the Wuhan outbreak, in the town of Dumaguete. The Philippines recorded the first death, related to COVID-19, outside of China on Feb. 2.
Given the recent panic across the globe, Bennett decided to document his experience and provide some helpful tips so that others back home can be better combat the pandemic.
Here are Kevin Bennett’s tips on how to survive the pandemic based on his experience living in the Philippines.
Tip #1 – Get outside and enjoy the sunshine. It’ll do you a lot of good.
However, the World Health Organization stated that the COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in all areas, including areas with hot and humid weather. UV lamps should also not be used to sterilize hands or other areas of skin as UV radiation can cause skin irritation.
Tip #2 – Wash your hands frequently, carry and use hand cleanser. Don’t go shopping if you have a cold.
“The one good thing about the crisis is that it has spurred a huge (and much overdue) cleanup, with sanitary workers, hotels, hospitals, transit systems, restaurants and so on all going crazy bleaching everything in sight.”
“At every location, there is a freehand cleanser and before you enter any public building your temperature is checked by a security guard pointing a laser thingy at your forehead. If your temperature is above normal, you’re not allowed in.”
Tip #3 – Buy a “Bum Gun” (aka Bidet Sprayer) and give up TP forever.
“Filipinos are laughing at the west for panic buying toilet paper. Firstly, because they can’t believe that supposedly first-world countries do something as disgusting as use paper to wipe their backsides, instead of using soap and water, which is what we use here.”
“Most houses have a “Bum Gun” a small shower head attached to the toilet plumbing that is used to spray the area after pooping. It’s far more hygienic, and so effective I’ve had them installed in my house in Canada.”
Tip #4 – Don’t hoard.
“More people than usual are wearing masks, because it minimizes the transmission of germs that they may be carrying, particularly if they are sick.”
“To be seen sniffling or sneezing public without a mask is considered extremely rude and will get you scolded. Wearing a mask shows others that they are socially responsible and that they care about the health of their community.”
Tip #5 – Check on your neighbours. See if they need help, such as groceries.
“Public events with more than 50 people have been banned, which is a source of great frustration for the Filipinos, for whom a 50-person gathering is practically a normal family breakfast.”
“Filipinos are world-renown for their friendliness, generous character and family values, and we could learn a lot from them.”
As of Tuesday, March 24, the Philippines has confirmed 552 cases, 35 deaths, and 20 recoveries from COVID-19.