Opinion: To battle the Covid-19 pandemic, stay at home if you are told to – it could save lives

By Kai-U Cheang, Macau Anglican College


  • Social distancing is tough, but it is necessary to save lives.
  • It is everyone's responsibility to protect the health of the community.
By Kai-U Cheang, Macau Anglican College |

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Social distancing orders are in effect across most of the world, but people must obey them for them to work.

Recent news reports have shown people who were supposed to be in self-isolation but were leaving their homes. You could even see the quarantine bracelets they were wearing: proof that they should not have been out in public. It is important to stay at home during the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly if you are supposed to be self-isolating.

After being careful about wearing masks, staying at home and social distancing for so long, some people may find themselves experiencing behavioural fatigue. Since nothing bad has happened so far to them or those around them, they may gradually stop practising important preventive measures, such as wearing masks or staying at home.

However, this boredom is not an excuse to break self-isolation or leave home unnecessarily.

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The reason people are placed in self-isolation and quarantined at home is that they have been, or may have been, exposed to a person with the virus. This makes them potential carriers of Covid-19 who can infect others.

If they are travelling on public transport, eating in restaurants or gathering in public spaces, the probability of them spreading the infection to others – through droplets or simply by touching surfaces – is higher. It does not matter that they may not display any symptoms at this stage, because they may still be either in the incubation period or asymptomatic.

If they decide to go out because they do not believe they are sick, this shows an ignorance of how the disease is spread.

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What’s more, it is an act of extreme selfishness. It is selfish to believe that boredom caused by staying at home outweighs the importance of the health of others. It shows a disregard for and disrespect of others in a place where we must live close together.

In the worst-case scenario, if the self-isolating individual does indeed spread the disease to someone else, then they have horribly impacted that person’s life and added further burdens to an already overwhelmed medical system. The infected person may have a family, and our health care professionals are already working as hard as they can.

This is far from an impossible outcome, but it is ignored by those individuals who have been instructed to self-isolate but leave their homes anyway.

People who are supposed to be in self-isolation should stay at home because that is the responsible thing to do. By staying at home as much as we can, and wearing masks when we are out in public, we show an awareness of the situation and we help the medical sector cope with the current pandemic.

More importantly, we show respect for both ourselves and other members of society.

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