Ben Kavanagh has been taking the social distancing message very seriously. The 24-year-old Kildare man says he has been practising it since the start of the year.
Kavanagh was living and working in the city of Wuhan in China when the world's first case of what we now know as Covid-19 was detected there.
As the virus spread fast, the Chinese authorities cracked down hard. And the experience of living in Wuhan at a time of great crisis has informed all the decisions he makes now that he is back in Ireland.
"I stay at home," he says. "If I go out, it's to get essential groceries or to go for a jog to clear my head. But that's it. I don't meet up with friends and I stay well away from everyone else.
"For me, the whole of 2020 has been dominated by coronavirus. I have friends in Wuhan who have had to stay in their apartments for more than 60 days. We're [in Ireland] not even at that point yet. They understand that it is something that just has to be done."
The draconian measures appear to be paying dividends in the city of 11 million people. There have been reports of no new cases there in the past few days and Wuhan has started to open for business again, although the order to wear face masks has not been lifted.
"I just don't think we've been taking this seriously enough," says Kavanagh, who spent two weeks in quarantine in Liverpool after his evacuation from China. "When I go out, I still see people who are acting like there is nothing to be concerned about."
Social media footage of a long line of people queueing up outside a Dublin chip shop last weekend tells him that some simply aren't heeding the HSE's advice. "This is not a holiday," he says. "Everyone has to take personal responsibility."
Technology, he says, has allowed us to stay in touch and he has enjoyed having a virtual drink with friends.
He hopes to return to Wuhan soon and resume his life as an English teacher there. He won't be able to travel until at least April 19, the date when the current Irish restrictions are due to be lifted. He accepts that it could go on much longer. "There might be months of this. We just don't know."
In the meantime, he is taking no chances. He declines a request to be photographed for this newspaper in the Phoenix Park - near where he is living at present - because he believes it would send out the wrong message. "We need to keep apart."
For Laura Durcan, consultant rheumatologist at Beaumont Hospital and the vice president of the Irish Hospital Consultants Association, this is a time where we need to remain vigilant about both handwashing and social distancing, and not let our guard down.
"It has to become second nature for us," she says, "and I think the message really is getting through to most of us. You can see that out and about. People are keeping two metres apart."
'We can control this'
She says the message need not be complicated - and the suggestion that people wipe down groceries after purchase, for instance, is a step too far. "The virus won't get to you via your skin. You have to put the skin into your mouth to get the virus. If you touch surface when you're out and about, the virus can be on your hands, but it won't get to you unless you put it up to your nose and mouth. And that won't happen if you wash your hands or use a sanitiser. You need to wash your hands extremely regularly over the course of the day - you've got to be OCD about it, to ask yourself 'am I clean or unclean?'
"In the absence of someone with the virus coughing in our face, we can control this."
As a doctor, she has long been used to practicing cough etiquette - including sneezing into one's elbow - and fastidious handwashing, but Durcan now carries a hand sanitiser with her at all times.
James McInerney, one of Europe's leading microbiologists, is from Co Clare and living and working in Nottinghamshire. He welcomes the approach taken by the UK this week because "the upward trajectory of fatalities here is really eye-watering - far higher per capita than in Ireland. Something significant had to be done".
But he questions if it can really be called a lockdown. "The Tube is still running. You have public parks open - which is a good thing. And people are still allowed outside once a day. It's tougher for those without a front or back garden."
McInerney says he has been struck by the fact that, even still, some people don't get the seriousness of the situation. "You hear things like, 'I'm really disappointed in Boris' or 'This is so bad for the economy'. Maybe Prince Charles contracting the virus will make them sit up and take notice."
When it comes to his own approach, he says he has adopted a simple maxim. "I am acting as though I have the virus and I'm trying to keep everyone else safe. When I look at people, I think, 'Well I don't want to give it to you, so what should I do?' I wash my hands to protect others. I'm finding it easier than I imagined not to interact with others on a personal level - I'm on Microsoft Teams, Skype, WhatsApp, [Google] Hangouts. Technology is our friend and we're pretty good at it in Ireland."
But with more people contracting the virus, McInerney says it is important that the messaging reinforces how the entire household can be kept safe if one of their number gets it.
"You [the person with the virus] have to stay in one room. You need the extractor fan in the toilet running day and night. And when you have to go into a room where a person is self-isolating, keep a set of clothes outside the door. You take off your regular clothes, put the new clothes on, go in and do what you have to do - maybe change the bed clothes - and then come out leaving those clothes by the door and changing back into your regular ones and then washing your hands."
For Laura Erskine, this is a uniquely challenging period that can put a special strain on parents. The parenting expert at online mother and baby community, BabyDoc Club, says: "Staying positive during this time of restricted lifestyle and work is important to parents and parents-to-be. Four in 10 parents [according to a BabyDoc Club survey] are focused on putting this unique gift of time to good use with their family while 34pc will stay positive through virtual connections with family and friends.
"We are all doing our best to protect our families and livelihoods through this constantly evolving situation brought about by the coronavirus.
"In any crisis," she adds, "it is the most vulnerable and at-risk segments of society that we strive to protect first. It is apparent, however, that those who have recently given birth and those preparing to do so in the coming weeks and months need more reassurance. The evidence so far suggests that the physical health risks of contracting the coronavirus are low for healthy pregnancies, mums and new babies, with those affected expected to make a good recovery.
"We must be mindful, however, that maternal mental health in pregnancy and new mothers can be fragile and lack of family support along with self isolation will take its toll."
Brendan Kelly, professor of psychiatry at Trinity College Dublin, has just published an ebook, Coping with Coronavirus.
"Most people understand that our leaders and doctors are outlining the situation as they know it, but the risk is uncertain," he says. "And that's what makes the anxiety so difficult. Usually, with anxiety disorder - such as a phobia - we treat people by demonstrating there is nothing to fear. The problem with this crisis is there is something to be anxious about - the virus.
"The message has to be how do we keep that anxiety in proportion? How do we live our lives with an increased level of worth and insecurity? It's a new phenomenon for this generation. When you read about the world wars, you had people confidently saying: 'This will be over in a month' and yet it dragged on and on.
"The lack of an end date is tough for many. What we need to do is realise we're not going to resolve our anxiety and that anxiety can be infinite - our brains can find ingenious ways for us to worry. Think of all those who refresh their browser multiple times a day to find out the number of cases of deaths in countries as they are announced."
Radical change in our mindsets is essential, Kelly believes. "If we think about Covid-19 on a global level all day, every day we won't be able to carry on. It's just too big. What I'm strongly advising is to stay informed about the global and national news, morning and evening, but between times just focus on your own life. Being obsessed by the global pandemic will crush our spirits."
Kelly has removed social media apps from his phone. He says a key strategy to help us through this time is to find something mindful. "It could be going for a run, or reading a book, knitting - anything that means something to us and allows the outside world to melt away."
His key message is refreshingly straightforward. "We can all get through this."
'Coping With Coronavirus' by Dr Brendan Kelly is available as an ebook on Amazon's Kindle store now, priced 99c, with proceeds going to charity