Pandemic Diaries:Panic. Don’t panic.

By Jamie Etheridge

Late last night we got the news that the interior minister will likely begin locking down certain areas in Kuwait, starting with Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh, Farwaniya and Mahboula. The news sent a shock of fear through me. Just the idea of quarantining an entire area, with hundreds of thousands of residents, is terrifying. Imagine how difficult this will be and how scary for all the residents living in those areas?

I’m a mom of two children and cannot fathom how terrifying this must be for every mother living there. How will she get regular access to food for her babies? How will the Interior ministry continue to protect and ensure law and order? What happens to people in these areas if they get sick? What about those who live in shared accommodations with many others? How long would the lockdown last?

I’m sure the government has a plan and answer to all these questions. So far, Kuwait’s government and especially the ministry of health and the ministry of interior (as well as the ministry of commerce and ministry of education) have handled the pandemic crisis with unprecedented speed, professionalism and purposefulness. They have a very clear idea of what they need to do to protect us all and they are doing it.

The closures of schools, mosques, malls, shops, salons and the lockdowns are all unprecedented (or nearly so) and the government has kept things running smoothly in almost everything. I’ve heard so many people say Alhumdulillah we are here in Kuwait as opposed to many other places where the response and leadership has been grossly lacking.

Still, it is terrifying to think of area lockdowns, of the field hospital in Mishref filling up with sick patients, of a large number of deaths, of community transmission. Each day is a battle between panic. Don’t panic. Panic. Don’t panic. Not that panicking will help in any case.

I just keep reminding myself that I can help by staying home, by staying safe and by staying informed. The only way to gain control over a circumstance is to acknowledge what we can and cannot do, no matter how big or small our contribution. I cannot reverse this situation or make it go away. But I can slow and help stop the spread. Not going out means I’m not contracting the coronavirus, Insha’Allah and should I get it, not spreading it to others. So today, I’m not panicking and staying at home.

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