I’m what you might disdainfully refer to as a ‘traveller’, and since I’ve become stranded in truly the worst place on planet earth – New Zealand’s South Island – by a virus sweeping the globe faster than you can say “Don’t lick that door handle,” I clearly have nothing better to do than erroneously proclaim myself an expert on this brand new (ish) COVID-19 thing. Due to my newfound internet-based wealth of coronavirus knowledge, plus 819 days and counting on the road, I am clearly well positioned to advise other travellers on what to do during a pandemic, as well as people who aren’t travelling, or in fact anyone bored enough to read this article. So sit back, grab your hand sanitiser and allow me to guide you through what was once the stuff of Hollywood movies but is now your foreseeable future.
- Panic. Never in living memory have we experienced any kind of flu virus spreading around the globe at the speed of a Boeing 737. Except, of course, avian flu, swine flu, equine flu, MERS and SARS, and it’s not like flu viruses go around every winter. Besides, not only is this illness blatantly disregarding border control protocol and visas – something I find quite frankly offensive, because do you have any idea how much time and money and stress it takes to get visas for places – but it is also invisible and everything is definitely more dangerous when you can’t see it.
- Stock up on all the toilet paper. There is nothing more important in this world than toilet paper, especially in the context of an impending apocalypse. Forget about water, candles, gas for cooking, batteries, and medicine because none of that shit will fit in the trolley with all this toilet paper in there anyway. Of course, stockpiling bulky, inessential items is totally illogical as a traveller, but these are extenuating circumstances, and everyone else is doing it so it must be right.
- Regard everyone you see with suspicion, especially if you are currently overseas. Don’t worry about how rude or racist it may seem; it is your obligation to glare at them, keep your possessions away from them, treat them like lepers if you have to, because everyone is suddenly a potential killer. Being cordial and treating others with dignity only boosts morale, and these are dark and desperate times in which we should all be panicking (see point 1).
- Further, forget about all the other illnesses there are and diagnose everyone with coronavirus, even if they only have one of the symptoms. The hundreds of other viruses that have been around for centuries have all been absorbed into one dank molecule kind of like that 1950s horror movie The Blob, to make this one mega-illness, which is why it’s such a big deal. That’s how viruses work, right?
- If you find yourself trapped in your hotel room, it’s easy to keep busy by reading all the knee-jerk doomsday forecasting in the online tabloid news and being shocked and horrified by what you read. Just make sure you share the articles you read on your social media to inform others with this uneducated information so as to spread panic as much as possible.
- If you need to travel or go outside, wear a mask even though you’re healthy. The World Health Organisation and various government bodies advise against paper masks unless you’re actually sick, but what do these ‘experts’ know? In fact, buy all the paper masks, because your health is more important than other people’s, and it’s not like stockpiling things will make them more expensive and harder to access for health professionals.
- Ditch all common sense hygiene in favour of chastising others for failing to douse themselves in hand sanitiser. It’s irrelevant that soap has been around for centuries and, when combined with water, magically cleans germs from your skin almost like it was invented to do so; hand sanitiser is the only thing that can stop this crazy virus.
- Lastly, moan and groan about having to change your travel plans. Whinging but doing nothing about your problems is always the best approach in life, especially in potentially stress-inducing situations. Never mind viewing this as an opportunity or looking on the bright side – you have been inconvenienced and everyone needs to know.
Above all, remember that it’s every person for themselves at this point, so don’t take the risk of helping others or considering anyone else’s wellbeing. Also I hope whoever bought all the black beans in the Queenstown Pak ‘N Save trips over a clog and hurts their arm because now I have to use kidney beans for my bean salad like some kind of un-woke single-use plastic using normie. Urgh. What is wrong with people.