What you don't need to do to prepare for coronavirus.
Our advice to avoid getting caught out by misleading information about Covid-19.
1. You don’t need to panic buy
Scenes of shoppers stacking trollies with tissues and toilet paper hit the headlines when we went into lockdown in March. However, there’s no reason to start hoarding.
Supermarkets have assured us they don’t anticipate shortages and supply lines are in good shape.
Keep your cupboards stocked but don’t go overboard – you don’t need several months’ worth of tissues.
If you need to stay at home because you’re in quarantine, supermarkets can deliver groceries (if this service is available in your area). You can also ask family or friends to pick up supplies and leave them on your doorstep.
2. You don’t need pricey cleaning products
The best thing you can do is follow basic hygiene and cleaning advice. You don’t need to pay extra for special cleaning products.
Plain soap and water are effective at cleaning your hands. There’s no added benefit in using antibacterial soaps.
The basic rules:
wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and dry them well
cough or sneeze into your elbow or by covering your mouth and nose with tissues
regularly clean surfaces (soap and water can also be used for scrubbing surfaces).
It may be possible to get Covid-19 from contaminated surfaces but the main way the virus is thought to spread is by droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
3. You don’t need to hoard face masks
In its updated advice, the Ministry of Health recommends adding face masks to your emergency supplies. It’s recommending non-medical grade face masks – either disposable options or reusable cloth masks.
Only buy what you need for your household: hoarding masks means there’s less stock available for others.
Can’t afford a mask or find any in stores? You can use something else as a face covering – such as a bandana, scarf or T-shirt.
Remember, face masks aren’t a fail-safe protection against coronavirus. Washing your hands and covering coughs and sneezes remains as important as ever.
4. You don’t need to stockpile paracetamol
Pharmac has restricted paracetamol prescriptions (for 500mg tablets) because of supply issues resulting from Covid-19. These restrictions mean pharmacists can’t dispense more than one month's funded supply at a time.
The restrictions don’t apply to paracetamol bought over-the-counter. However, needlessly stocking up could mean others aren’t able to buy the medication.
5. Don’t get taken in by scammers
Scammers take every opportunity to make money. The Covid-19 pandemic is no exception.
Hoax emails claiming to have updated Covid-19 information have been doing the rounds. The emails contain attachments that could install malicious software on your computer if opened. Others may ask you to hand over personal information in an attempt to steal your details.
Scam text messages have also been reported in Australia. The messages contain a link that claims to direct recipients to testing facilities. If you click the link, it may install software on your phone that could steal your bank login and other personal information.
Don’t click on any links in emails or texts from people you don’t know and never give out your login details. Keep your devices up-to-date with the latest security patches.