President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday declared the local outbreak of Covid-19 a national state of disaster in terms of the Disaster Management Act and enforced a number of moratoriums.

In addition to closing schools from tomorrow and shutting more than half the country’s 72 ports of entry yesterday (35 land and two sea), the president also imposed a ban on public gatherings of more than 100 people.

Ramaphosa’s crowd ban was despite many people relying on malls for their essential shopping needs, and frantic stockpiling has already started in some parts of the country.

The virus is already making a notable dent on global economies and trade agreements, and South Africa’s failing economy is expected to be one of the hardest hit.

“In the last few weeks, we have seen a dramatic decline in economic activity in our trading partners, a sudden drop in tourism and severe instability across global markets,” the president said.

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With panic mounting, the phrase “self-quarantine” becoming fashionable and shoppers already buying toilet paper and hand sanitisers in bulk, the question remains: what foods should you be stocking up on?

Let’s not kid ourselves. We’ve all prepared a “thorough” grocery list before heading to the stores, only to return without some of the most important items.

Dr David Mushatt, chief of adult infectious diseases at Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, says people have a tendency to buy impulsively during emergencies.

“Rather than panicking and buying more than you need, it’s about being adequately stocked … just in case we need to shelter in place, or in case stores have limited supplies,” says Mushatt in a US news article.

The Citizen’s emergency self-quarantine shopping list will hopefully help you shop smartly instead of frantically.

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Food for thought

You should ideally buy enough food for two weeks. This should primarily be nonperishables that won’t go bad while being stored, for instance:

Rice, pasta, beans and oats.
Canned foods that contain liquid, such as tomatoes, pilchards, beans and tuna.
In addition to multivitamin supplements, also get a supply of long-lasting fruits such as citrus fruits, bananas, apples.
A supply of bottled water (usually 1 litre per person per day) is always a good idea.
Don’t forget your pets.
Baby food and formula for infants.
Add a few comfort foods, such as chocolates, crisps and biscuits.


Important tip: If you’re sick with the coronavirus, then nutritious soups and easy-to-eat digestible foods are important.

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Medically speaking

Bill Gentry, an associate professor of health policy and management at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health in the US, says when Covid-19 strikes a community, it’s important to have a flu kit on hand.

This should include:

A thermometer.
Fever reducers.
Liquids to replace electrolytes.
Chronic medication (at least a month’s supply).
Anti-nausea and diarrhoea medicines.
Vitamins.


Important tip: If your condition gets worse and your fever climbs, immediately consult your doctor.

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Hygiene is everything

While advice varies, it’s a good idea to keep handy any self-care supplies. These include:

Antibacterial soap.
Hand sanitiser.
Toilet paper and tissues.
Nappies (if you have toddlers).
Sanitary pads and tampons.
Antibacterial surface cleaners and paper towels.


Important tip: Regular hand-washing is very important and you should wash for at least 20 seconds with running water and soap.

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