Loving your neighbour in time of Coronavirus

Love your neighbour as yourself is a key Christian teaching. In this pandemic one hopeful neighbour-loving act is to take care not to spread Coronavirus, and to support your neighbour in doing the same. You can do that by simple primary prevention: social distancing, mask use, and hand hygiene, together with the vital importance of self-isolating at first suspicion of symptoms.

Jesus was clear: that to be part of the kingdom of God we need to love our neighbour as ourselves. In this pandemic it’s tricky to know what that means in practice. I think preventing the coronavirus spreading and helping our neighbours do the same with love and without recrimination fits the bill.

This pandemic doesn’t have a stable state. Either case numbers spiral upwards as though pursued by a violent questing beast, or they decline to nothing. Stopping epidemics needs people who have connections to and love for their community and can do what Public Health doctors call primary prevention. As a reminder: in the case of Coronavirus, primary prevention means maintaining physical distance wherever possible, wearing masks, maintaining scrupulous hand hygiene and most importantly self-isolating at the first suspicion of symptoms and helping others to do so. That help might be simple encouragement and a phone call – or a pact to help with essential food or medical supplies during the period of isolation.

For some poor health means that opportunities for direct encouragement of others are limited. But I do encourage you to model primary prevention with love and without recrimination through incidental conversations, phone calls, on social and so on, to bring this scourge to an end.

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