How to survive the Wuhan Coronavirus (February 2020)

Published February 2020

How to survive the Wuhan Coronavirus. A plan to quarantine in South Africa under the worst case scenario.

A brainstorming article.

Once a week I share nuggets of information I recently learnt about Tech and Trends. It would be remiss of me not to talk about the Wuhan Coronavirus and how a Future Thinker would perhaps deal with this threat.

After listening to a disappointing interview on a local radio station which deliberated how prepared our government was for this risk, the show failing to actually share a plan, the decision to quarantine myself if this virus arrived in my hometown was a no brainer, and anyone who knows me personally, knows I do not do things half-heartedly. The preparations I share in this post come with a disclaimer:

‘There is no one glove fits all plan when it comes to a quarantine.’

A Future Thinker might also ask the question: “why didn’t I predict such a scenario happening?” to which I would reply: “go read the post I made a few weeks earlier: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=2592693394309920&id=1811395325773068



Wuhan Coronavirus is passed on as easily as the flu, it’s already in several countries. You could be sitting in a room right now with someone ill and showing no symptoms. It has a gestation period of only a few days. The average of 2.4 people can be made sick by every 1 person already ill.

China has quarantined 50 million people. There are 52 million South Africans. If one thousand South Africans are infected, and our society is not prepared, the following is possible:

  • In a matter of a few days, 2400 more will have it,
  • Two weeks later, 8000 people will be ill.
  • Hospitals would not be able to cope by the end of month one.
  • At the start of month two 30000 will be sick.
  • 10 weeks in, basic services for water, power, sanitation and telecommunications will cease operating.
  • End of month 3, government and society as we know it will collapse.
  • Month four, at least 1 million people would be affected.
  • Within 6 months, half our population could be affected, and at a conservative 5% death rate: 2.6 million will be dead, most will be children and the elderly. Many others will perish due to other health risks, starvation and war.
  • Some estimates are that 65 million people world-wide could die from the virus.

Quarantine is logical if I want to live.

Those who survive will be burdened with starting society again. Part of being a Future Thinker is to consider technological regression as a scenario. Computer coding would be less valuable than knowing how to farm in the first 2 years of the new world. There will be little left of local and global economies.

Epidemics like this have happened before and will happen again.

A good friend of mine called Pieter has said my articles are too long, so this is my abbreviated plan, feel free to post questions or comments.

Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist

Where do I quarantine myself? I considered a location near the sea for fishing, protein is important. Or a lake for fresh water. In either of these locations, I would struggle with shelter and be exposed to the elements. I decided I would lock myself in my house instead. Fortunately, it is on a mountain estate and my neighbours are a good distance away from me. This would reduce exposure risks. More importantly I have two Jojo tanks (40 000l) and a system that channels rain water. At home, I have UPS and a portable 7.5KVA petrol generator. Shelter, water and power are 3 of 4 essentials.

I would prepare to quarantine for 3 months. Planning past this point would be futile because the potential scenarios would increase exponentially and become impossible to prepare for. I could move to a new spot or replenish supplies after 3 months. Starting to farm might be something I need to do or perhaps get a boat and forage from the coast.

The 4th essential is food. I would survive on canned meat and veg which lasts at least 3 months.

My water provisions would last 500 days even if it didn’t rain. I would have 75l per day: enough for drinking water, cooking, flushing the toilet and a quick shower every day. For those of you who think a shower is a luxury, you must remember hygiene is imperative.

I would need to stock up on medical supplies, vitamins, toilet paper, hygiene products, and lots of soap. I would get 3 boxes of matches, and extra gas for my stove: 3 cylinders to cater for increase gas use.

I would buy a large 50l urn and use it as a geyser when the main city power supply stops around week 3.

I would run my generator 3-4 hours a day to recharge my UPS, used for basic lighting and electronics only. The generator would be used to power the urn for 20 minutes and the freezer for 90 minutes per day. A full freezer will keep its core temperature for about 48 hours. If I only open the door on the fridge once a day it would probably keep food edible for a month. Fresh veg and fruit would be depleted week 3 and 4.

I would use 2 tanks of fuel a week, therefore needing 24 x 25l Jerrycans. Storing fuel would be my biggest task. Not only to buy, but to bury all the containers around my garden would be a mission on its own. One of the extreme risks is being attacked for your resources and fuel would be in high demand. Keeping my house dark at night and blinds closed would be very important to avoid as much passing attention as possible. I am not sure if I could defend myself under attack. I would need a weapon or invite someone to stay with me who could offer protection.

This brings me to the biggest conundrum I would have: deciding to stay alone, invite a loved one, or perhaps someone who could increase my chances of survival.

For every person who joins me my risk increases 100%. For anyone quarantining themselves with their family, making a decision who joins you would become a huge source of emotional turmoil and stress. You cannot protect all your loved ones during a pandemic and abandoning your pets would be another hard decision.

A great deal of time during my quarantine would be consumed by mourning. For life, for society.

Quarantine would be long term trauma. I would not be the same person at the end of it. I would need to keep myself distracted, and entertainment with at least 36 new books would help keep me sane. I would probably end up writing another book and doing some sort of artwork. Other actions to take:

  • Draw as much cash as I possibly could. Money would be worthless if the economy does collapse, so this would only help in a scenario that is not as bad as the one I have described. Regardless, ATMs will stop working week 3.
  • Make sure my radio is working, and connected to UPS, communication is important and will help me decide when to come out of quarantine.
  • Buy lots of rubbish bags, waste needs to be dealt with, put in bags, and buried or burnt.
  • Make sure I have my ID and other very important things in a travel bag packed and waiting encase I need to evacuate.
  • The car needs to be prepped with 3 days of necessities in the boot.
  • Make sure I have extra household supplies to keep the home clean. If I am going to be stuck in one spot, a clean home will help my mental state.
  • Buy seeds and chemical fertilizer.
  • Purchase and download all the music I can before the internet stops. Yes, the internet would probably stop due to the pandemic and strangely enough global warming might also slow down.
  • Finally, I would stock pile cigarettes and alcohol. Not because I drink or smoke, but I would use it for trade and bartering.

Stock up on eggs, pastas, rice, firewood, cereal, long life milk, salt, dried fruit, nuts, coffee and tea, and some chocolate for my soul.

A Future Thinker stands the best chances of survival, and being able to adapt in the new world.


Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline
Digital Architect & Scenario Planner.
Everything Trends, Tech, Web, Iot & Strategy.
Author, Consultant & Project Manager.

Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist


Published February 2020

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