As the world battles the deadly coronavirus, more people have been forced to take several precautions that should prevent them from being infected. Quite a number of people have been stockpiling sanitizers and toilet paper, leaving little or nothing left for others. But in the midst of all of this, one man has gone out of his way to ensure that the population most susceptible to the virus – the elderly and the sick – have these necessary supplies at their disposal. And what’s more, it’s free.
“Witnessing a selfless act brings tears to remind us how we should be treating others” – Bryant McGill
They say that ‘not all heroes wear capes,’ and Zahid Iqbal exemplifies this saying. In a time when everyone is less concerned about the other, he is doing all he can to ensure that the elderly who might be unable to get these supplies, have them.
“We just want to set a good example in this world“
The inspiration behind this grand gesture came when Iqbal, 34, accompanied his parents to a local supermarket. There, he noted that almost all shelves have become empty. His heart immediately went out to the elderly and the infirm who, because of their age and medical conditions, may be unable to get the supplies.
“All the youngsters are picking stuff up, and the older ones are being left out. We have lots of customers from the local care homes, as well as disabled customers, who can’t get hand sanitizers, loo rolls, or anything at all. We just want to set a good example in this world,” said Iqbal .
Then and there, Iqbal, who runs the Day-Today convenience store, decided to help those most effected by the virus and self-isolation by handing out free ‘survival packs,’ which include a packet of pocket tissues, anti-bacterial hand wash and a packet of acetaminophen. What’s more? Anyone unable to pick their survival pack at the shop can have it delivered at their house.
The financial implications of this incredible act cannot be overlooked, with the initiative having cost a staggering £5000 (approx $6100 USD) so far. But Zahid, who has refused to take any donations, insists his loyal customers are worth every penny spent.
“Money can be made in the future… Right now, we need to do our part for the community, “ said Zahid. “We want to help out for as long as we can manage, and everybody needs to be doing their bit. If we run out of toilet rolls, then the next thing we want to do is pasta. If there’s a lockdown, people need to be able to look after themselves. The satisfaction you get helping people out is just amazing” .
Unsurprisingly, this act of his has generated a lot of likes, comments, and shares across diverse social media platforms, with many commending Zahid for his kind gesture.
How we can collectively help each other
Covid-19 is a virus that affects the respiratory organs. Symptoms include fatigue, sore throat, coughing, fever, and shortness of breath. Covid-19 was first reported in Wuhan, China, but has quickly spread to several countries, including the United States, Italy, Germany, South Africa, etc. The virus spreads when there’s been close contact with an infected person, even before they start showing symptoms. It can also be contracted when there’s contact with an infected person’s sneeze or cough. While there’s no cure, there are several tips you should have in mind to protect yourself and others.
1). Exercise precautionary measures
The most important thing we can do for each other at this time is to exercise precaution. If you have been to any of the countries affected by the virus recently, you will do well to self-isolate for at least 14 days. Self-isolation is a precautionary measure to prevent those around you from contracting the virus if you eventually test positive. As much as possible, avoid close contact with friends, colleagues, or family members that have not gone on the trip with you. However, stressful it may be; this is not the time to be vindictive. Protect both yourself and others.
2.) Do not join in xenophobia and racism
Several people have been using the coronavirus, which was first reported in Wuhan, China, as an opportunity to perpetuate racism and xenophobia. Some have gone as far as reviving old racial stereotypes and labeling Asians as ‘barbaric’ and uncivilized. According to Jenny G. Zhang .
“The outbreak has had a decidedly dehumanizing effect, reigniting old strains of racism and xenophobia that frame Chinese people as uncivilized, barbaric ‘others’ who bring with them dangerous, contagious diseases and an appetite for dogs, cats, and other animals outside the norms of Occidental diets.”
At all levels, this is not right. Do not be tempted to be xenophobic and racist towards others. At this time, we should lift each other.
3.) Pay attention to the elderly
While social distancing should be done correctly, we should not forget the elderly ones in our midst. Their emotional needs matter, as well. Talk to your older relatives and help in whichever way you can while taking the necessary precautions. Make sure they have plenty of medical supplies and food on hand.
Together we can, and we will beat this virus.
- Coronavirus in Edinburgh: Convenience store goes viral after giving away free ‘packs’ to elderly. Edinburgh Live. Claire Galloway. https://www.edinburghlive.co.uk/news/edinburgh-news/edinburgh-convenience-store-goes-viral-17925704. Accessed 16-03-2020.
- Coronavirus: Edinburgh shop supplies free Covid-19 ‘survival’ packs to those in need. Edinburgh Evening News. David McClean. https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/news/people/coronavirus-edinburgh-shop-supplies-free-covid-19-survival-packs-those-need-2450851. Accessed 16-03-2020.
- Want to do something about coronavirus? Here are 5 ideas. Vox. Anna North. https://www.vox.com/platform/amp/identities/2020/3/9/21166475/coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak-health-hand-washing. Accessed 16-03-2020.
- Everything You Should Know About the 2019 Coronavirus and COVID-19. HealthLine. Tim Jewell. https://www.healthline.com/health/coronavirus-covid-19. Accessed 16-03-2020.
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