As of Wednesday 11th of March, the World Health Organisation declared COVID-19 a pandemic, and with the rapid spread of the virus in both China and Italy, more of us may be forced (or choose) to self-isolate.
Two weeks is a long time to self-isolate, especially if you have a young family to look after as well as elderly parents or those who are immunocompromised.
While many of us will get by without a stockpile, it can be reassuring to know you have the essentials for the coming days, weeks or even months - who knows?
If you want to be fully prepared for a household quarantine, here are some things you may want to consider:
- When picking up your shopping, buy non-perishable foods, tinned or canned goods, pet food and other food you can pop in your freezer. Unfortunately, fresh meat, fruit and vegetables may go off before you need them.
- Check your first aid cupboard and make sure you have basic over-the-counter medicines, including a digital thermometer. You will need Paracetamol and Ibuprofen for adults, and liquid form or suppositories for young children and babies.
- Household items you may need include cleaning products such as an antibacterial surface cleaner, laundry products, hand wash and bathroom essentials such as sanitary towels and toilet roll but remember it's only a couple of weeks you need to self-isolate, not a year.
- If you run out of food during isolation, order your shopping online and schedule home delivery. Just remember to leave a note on your door asking to leave the food on your doorstep. Alternatively, text a family member or close friend to pick up whatever you need.
- For those with young babies or toddlers at home, make sure you have enough milk if your baby is on formula, nappies, baby wipes and other essentials to keep you going for a two-week quarantine.
- If your utility bills are paid using a pay-as-you-go meter, ensure your card is topped up with sufficient credit to keep you going for a fortnight or more. If not, make sure you have access to an online account to top it up if it runs low.
- For those on long term medication, be prepared and collect a month's prescription in advance if you need to go into quarantine. If you are unsure what you may need, ask your GP or local pharmacist for advice.
- Consider in-house entertainment. If you don't already have a Netflix or DisneyLife account, sign up for a free trial. Download educational apps like Teach Monster, Reading Eggs and DuoLingo for the kids.
- If you have a library card, join BorrowBox and borrow ebooks and audiobooks from the comfort of your home. RBdigital is another state-of-the-art platform which provides access to a large selection of the latest magazines, newspapers and comics all for free.