Saudis learning to live with lessons learned from COVID-19 pandemic

According to the WHO, people can catch COVID-19 from others who have the virus. The disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth. (File/AFP)

RIYADH (RAHNUMA): The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has brought about a seismic shift in the daily lives of people around the world.

Lockdowns, self-isolation, and social distancing will be spoken about for generations to come once the global health crisis is over.

And many lessons will have been learned as the world steadily comes to terms with forced changes to everyday routines, both at work and at home, as a result of the deadly COVID-19 outbreak.

Fahd Mohammad, a 31-year-old Pakistani expat who is currently quarantined with his family, told Arab News that the virus had changed his perspective on life.

“We have a new understanding of what is important and what is not. We need to be more prepared about sudden big changes in life, save more, and build our own health in a way that it can fight such challenges,” he said.

Hafsa Khalid, a teacher who lives in Jeddah, said the pandemic had impacted on her job. “Being an educator, this pandemic has brought a major change in my way of teaching and how I have to associate it with my lessons while giving online classes.

“This includes everything from simple concepts, such as why hygiene matters and how germs spread, to more complex topics like ethical decision-making, the science behind how viral infections work, or the mathematics underpinning pandemics,” she added.

“I am finding ways to help the kids I teach to rise above the noise with unique, thoughtful lessons. I have become more careful and observant in my everyday lifestyle and routine.”

Khalid said that some of the habits she wanted to keep after the crisis was over included praying, meditating, reading, creating, and spending quality time with family.

Rooftop family gatherings and workouts have helped to maintain her sanity and relieve her anxiety during the lockdown, she added. “Fresh air and starry nights work wonders.”

Aya Karim, a 24-year-old Saudi university student, said that in the grand scheme of things she had developed some beneficial habits, including time management.

“On a smaller scale due to the coronavirus, I have learned how to spend time at home and time management. It has also turned me into a germaphobe, and I find myself going out of my way to be cautious. I like to think that I will sustain these habits,” she added.

The COVID-19 outbreak had also afforded her time to explore the world of fitness and she hoped that global lessons will have been learned about how to combat any future pandemics. “Not just the coronavirus but anything else — the precautions and the general course of action.”

Cricket coach Hasnat Ahmed, 31, said it had been a struggle to move his field activities to online platforms.

“From a proactive sports coach on the field to day-to-day life at a standstill, the coronavirus has drastically changed my world — there is no room for sport as we know it. The usual structure has totally changed from conducting physical sports sessions to adapting to virtual sessions,” Ahmed added.

Deema Al-Sehli, a project design manager, said: “I have learned to enjoy simple pleasures such as an ice cream cone while watching my favorite series.”

Meanwhile, Nasser Al-Shalhoub, a Riyadh-based financial analyst, said people should learn “to seize the moment, live life to the full, look forward to the future and never look back.”

Banker, Aliah Abudhear, pointed out that quarantine would help many people to appreciate that health and parents were “an invaluable blessing.”

She said that living through the pandemic would also help encourage financial prudence. “During this crisis, we have discovered that we always spent on accessories, not necessities, so we have to have a long-term savings plan.”

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