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Trampoline & chores while dad and Covid-19 mom work in self-isolation

‘Take it seriously,’ warns Cape Town woman who tested positive for coronavirus

16 March 2020 - 13:36 By Iavan Pijoos
'Stay positive and corona negative,' says a Cape Town woman who believes she caught Covid-19 in Germany or Austria. She and her husband are staying at home with their two young children while they sit out the sickness.
'Stay positive and corona negative,' says a Cape Town woman who believes she caught Covid-19 in Germany or Austria. She and her husband are staying at home with their two young children while they sit out the sickness.
Image: 123RF/Jarun Ontakrai

“Take it seriously and act like you have the virus today, with 20-second hand washing, social distancing and working remotely where possible.”

This is the message to the rest of the country from a Cape Town businesswoman who recently tested positive for Covid-19.

The woman, who asked to remain anonymous out of concern for her safety, runs a hotel chain in Cape Town and Johannesburg. She believes she was exposed to the virus during a trip to Germany and Austria.

“I may have contracted it in the subway (underground railway). I used hand sanitiser daily and avoided most crowds.”

She returned to SA on Wednesday. After experiencing mild symptoms and a dry cough, she went for tests and entered self-isolation on Thursday. Her results returned positive for Covid-19 on Friday evening.

She said she, her husband and their two young children went almost straight into quarantine on the request of the school.

"I found out Friday night and was in shock. I was hardly sick and not really prepared for the reality that I am positive and likely to pass it on to my kids.

“Running the business from afar is a challenge, especially as my children, who are three and six years old, are in self-isolation with us.”

She said their days are divided into cleaning the house, interacting with the children, cooking, crafting, exercising and napping.

“We have not started home schooling but with school being out for four weeks, we will need to.”

Discussing the challenge of balancing work pressures, she said: “It is difficult not to get sucked into work and try to manage people and other issues from afar. The WhatsApps are relentless. I am trying to remain positive and upbeat, and arrange structure.”

She said the children are kept busy with activities such as jumping on the trampoline, practising counting and having competitions. They also play educational games, read and do chores.

The family has created a routine — wake up, brush teeth, comb hair, get changed and eat together.

“Dad got dressed for work today to Skype with his team. We also bake cakes and the kids do some DIY work with dad, like cleaning out the garage and fixing creaky doors.”  

The washing of hands routine involves singing happy birthday for about 20 seconds.

The woman urged South Africans not to take chances and to pay attention to the seriousness of the need to contain the coronavirus.

She also cautioned South Africans to defer visits to elderly or sick relatives.

“Stay positive and corona negative.”

On Sunday, President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a state of disaster after the number of confirmed coronavirus cases reached 61. He has implemented bans and restrictions regarding schools, universities, prisons, visas, travel and group gatherings. 


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