A Harvey health professional has a dire warning about the severity of the coronavirus pandemic and is urging South West residents to “live life as if there is a full lockdown”. The once bustling streets of Harvey are no more – there is now a “new normal” which is eerie and equally chilling. A few civilians scurry around in a bid to get essential food and medication, but there is no mingling, handshakes or hugs on the footpath. People must stand 1.5m away from each other, stores have customer limits and many local businesses have shut up shop due to the threat of COVID-19. Worried residents are in makeshift masks – using bandanas, helmets and scarves. Many are wearing gloves and are on their last drop of hand sanitiser. Harvey pharmacist Vince Cosentino said there was a great threat to life – even in regional areas like Harvey and surrounding communities. “If someone has the virus and they pass it on to someone, that person will pass it on to someone else who will die from it.” Mr Cosentino, pictured, urged people to stay at home, if they could, to help stop the spread. He said the highly contagious virus could be transmitted from person to person and could also be passed on via contaminated surfaces. “The safest place for everyone right now is at their own home.” Mr Cosentino has made numerous changes to the way he operates his pharmacy in an attempt to stop the spread and protect the community. He said people needed to get used to this new way of life. Mr Cosentino stands at the door armed in a face mask and has waiting chairs outside. People can pick up their medication and are ushered in individually, but they cannot touch any of the surfaces inside. “If you are vulnerable, do not come in, we will deliver your medication,” Mr Cosentino said. “If you are sick with any signs of respiratory infection do not come to the pharmacy. Stay at home and call your doctor. “I am encouraging others to phone up in advance to place their order, we will get it ready and they can then pick it up.” The pharmacy will close each day from 1-2 pm to enable staff to disinfect and debrief. “We are doing our absolute best at the moment, I am extremely proud of my staff and grateful to the community for being sensible and co-operative at this very difficult time.” He said the team at the pharmacy had a list of people who needed medication from the area and were working through back orders and natural shortages on products like Ventolin. “People who need medication will get it,” he said. “We have been closely monitoring stock and we are not allowing hoarding to occur.” He said the pharmacy would remain open unless a staff member contracted the virus. Mr Cosentino believed Australia was following in the path of America in terms of spread. “We need to be like Singapore and Hong Kong,” he urged. Mr Cosentino has been a pharmacist for almost two decades and said he had never seen anything like it in his time. “Hopefully we learn from this and we are ready for the next one,” he said.