One basic protective measure against the coronavirus is to avoid touching our eyes, nose, and mouth. Why? Because our hands touch a lot of surfaces and can pick up viruses. According to the World Health Organisation, once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose, or mouth, giving the virus free entry into your body. Having said all of this, not touching my face is 3000% easier said than done. Could I last a whole day? No. God no. Could I last an hour? Maybe.

The Objective: To become more conscious of my face-touching so when I need to pick up supplies, I’m not touching shelves, fruit, self-serve, and then subconsciously running my hand all over my face. Because I do that. All the time. Help.

So when the clock struck 3pm on Wednesday, 25 March, my challenge begun. And my face immediately started to itch. Both of my eyebrows tingled, as did my jawline and chin. Hell.

Prior to beginning this challenge, I wondered how I could keep myself in check. The over-enthusiastic part of me thought about wrapping my desk in baking paper and covering the pads of my fingers in old lipstick so I could go about my business, reach the end of the hour and literally see how many times I touched my face. But then I thought about how messy that would be, so decided against it. I also have very stubborn lipstick and didn’t particularly want to look like I just committed a crime. So instead, I got my boo to yell at me – via video – every time it looked like I was going to touch my face. I thought this was a pretty good plan, until I glanced at him a couple of times and saw him pulling this dumb shit.


But alas, I persevered and hit the 30-minute mark. It is now 3.32pm on the rocket clock and my face is no longer itching. I call that progress. But then came my next hurdle: Not being able to cup my fucking chin. This is like my go-to position at my desk. All I do is lean forward and cup my chin while I stare into the abyss (Twitter) and weep for the world. Outside of this challenge, I would’ve wiped down my laptop and then washed my hands for at least 20 seconds, before comfortably sliding into position, hand under chin. But I don’t have that luxury right now so instead I’m grinding my teeth. It is 3.41pm. I’m so close. On the bright side, not cupping my chin meant I wasn’t slouching so much, so there’s that. On the downside to this entire experiment, I was touching just about everything else around me. Turns out I am just a very touchy person. My lamp – my dear, beloved, useless lamp – was suddenly the most fascinating piece of architecture in the whole entire world. It’s smooth and round and dusty, and it’s not even plugged in. Shame. Friends, to avoid touching my face, I just unplugged my monitor to plug in my lamp. And then I immediately unplugged my useless lamp because I need my monitor. It’s 3.52pm.

To conclude this hour, I circled back to the WHO’s advice for the public. Like every other official and expert on the matter, the WHO urges us to practise social distancing. You must maintain at least 1.5 metres between yourself and anyone else. Shutdowns and whatnot will vary between countries, rules will be and are confusing, but if our leaders have been clear about one thing, it’s social distancing.

Holy shit, I made it.

My pic? Bong Joon Ho at the Oscars.

Well that wasn’t too hard, I say as I immediately touch my face. The challenge? Completed. The objective? I can’t say for certain, but I hope I’ll think twice before touching my face when I temporarily leave isolation to run down to the shops.  Or, I can set one of the pictures above as the wallpaper on my phone. That’ll do it.

If you think you may have coronavirus, either call your doctor (DON’T visit) or contact the national Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080. If you’re struggling to breathe or experiencing a medical emergency, call 000.

And please remember to wash your hands frequently (for at least 20 seconds) and keep at least 1.5 metres between you and those around.