We have prepared this material because we believe people's experiences and feelings are not less important than statistics and summaries. We asked people from different countries to tell us what they are experiencing in the situation that has developed this spring.

The texts were written during the previous month and turned out to be very different, as the authors chose their own way to describe the problem and the form to express their thoughts and emotions.
WORLD
CHINA, SHANGHAI
HOLLY MILLER FROM USA

My name is Holly, I'm an American student studying a Master's in politics in Shanghai, China. I never thought that I would live through a pandemic, especially being in the country where it was discovered. In late January and early February, my friends and family in the US were asking me if I was going to come home. Determined to graduate this year, I told them no. When the US started to suspend direct flights to and from China, I knew that if I wanted to go home, it would be almost impossible. Instead, I stayed inside on campus to write my thesis. I knew I was safe here and always felt safe in China. There were some days I felt lonely despite having two friends on campus. During this time, no one outside China knew what I was going through, especially my family and friends in the United States. Then, more than two months later, almost every country/ government in the world has either implemented a mandatory quarantine or a total shutdown of their borders. The Governor of Michigan, my home state, made an executive order to «stay at home» and «non-essential employees to not work». Many of my friends are out of jobs. Schools are shut down. No child is allowed to have online classes because not every single child has internet in their home. All my anxiety and worries are now for my loved ones abroad, both in the United States and elsewhere. I cannot help but think of them at this time.

To those who are worried about this virus, set your heart at ease. We must have faith that it will pass. It will pass and life will get back to normal very soon.

In the afternoon of January 23rd,
I nearly had an anxiety attack in Chongqing, China. Two weeks prior, I arrived in Chongqing to celebrate the Lunar New Year with my former high school classmate and his family. COVID-19 was spreading fast, and Chongqing being close Hubei province, made me panic even more. The constant news about this virus had overwhelmed me. I thought to myself, «Should I go back to Shanghai soon and then buy a ticket to go back to the US?» After some consideration, I decided to end my winter holiday earlier and go back to my campus in Shanghai. I also decided to stay in China so I can graduate on time. On January 26th, after arriving at the airport in Shanghai, I checked my phone and saw a notice published by my school stating, «If you are not in Shanghai, do not come back to campus». The notice was published after I landed at the airport. I can't believe I made it back in time.
NICOLAS FROM BELGIUM,
STUDIES IN BEIJING

It all started from a Whisper, far far away, from this other world nobody knows, yet everybody heard about. They thought it would have stayed there. As I'm writing it's «just» the eye, the safest place, imagine the size!

Who could have known? I knew. Did they really turn a blind eye?

China has eyes for everyone, for now, for tomorrow. It's no surprise that today it is the eye of the cyclone.

My person should be in the storm as the rest of my kind, but yet I'm here. It feels safe, but not home.

Go away, you will bring the storm back here they said. Since I was a kid, I've heard about this word but for the first time, I really know what racism means. Hopefully, it's not everyone. People are still people, in each country...

The oldest empire can get rid of it, the new ruling world tames it, is it truly the demonstration of our differences ?

Sometimes, I wish I could be in the storm, even though I experienced the original one long before the others. Now I know, my return will be as one of my childhood springs: sweet. Relatives only mean something now.

But what about the next one...

IN THE EYE
HONG KONG
SHERWIN
At this moment, I think Hong Kong is turning into a city of self-preservation. We are all trying to keep clean under the attack of COVID-19 from China. Due to the fact that the Hong Kong government didn't seal off the gate between Hong Kong and mainland China in the first place, new temporary policies are to be set up in order to prevent more community outbreaks. Restaurants and bars are now suffering from the serious economic crisis, they now have to have 1.5m distances between each table, and there can be no gatherings of more than 4 people, under penalty of fine.

Citizens started to report on others, like whenever there are 4 or more people walking together on the street or when there are restaurants not obeying the new policies because this is the only way left for Hong Kong to prevent the city from suffering seriously like Europe.Even though the law is supposed to be protecting citizens from serious community outbreaks, the Hong Kong Police Force is taking advantage of it. They have started to check on anti-government restaurants during lunch hours, bringing dozens of officers into one place, without first measuring body temperature before entering, spending the whole lunch hour measuring table by table to see if the restaurants are violating any rules.

On the other hand, entertainment venues like mahjong hall or karaoke rooms are not required to be closed yet and the government did not respond as to the reason why.
MYANMAR — BERLIN
IVAN DEGTYARENKO

«There are no cases of infection in Myanmar» — that's all that you could hear about COVID-19 in this country on March 15th. Myself being a 22-year-old resident of Germany — then, a country at the beginning of the epidemic, was pretty satisfied with this position of the Myanmar government. I traveled throughout the country without any disturbances and enjoyed countless pagodas and temperatures over 90 Fahrenheit. Despite some of the initiatives taken by the government, it felt like Myanmar exists in a world without a pandemic, more precisely, in a world where a pandemic will not affect the country. I thought that I was included in this.

On March 22nd, after a week of me entering Myanmar, I was not able to fly out of the country to Thailand. For me to fly there, I would need to get tested for coronavirus, and Myanmar didn't have such tests yet. Transit through Singapore was closed for German residents, so myself and my unfortunate companions hurried and bought tickets to Berlin through Shanghai and Moscow.

Shanghai airport can be described using one word: chaos. For some reason, the Chinese bureaucratic machine had no idea what to do with us. More than one hundred immigration workers in chemical protection were running around 4 foreigners from Germany for 30 hours. During this time, we got our passports taken, were unsuccessfully walked under guard to our next flight, were unsuccessfully pushed to buy tickets to the next available flight and leave (thank you Russian consulate in Shanghai for preventing that), were not allowed to go to the bathroom, were fed only once, and were left to sleep on the cold floor until the next flight. It looked like the local government is panicking and taking drastic actions just because that's all that they can do. The local authorities were arguing with us and mindlessly fighting with each other like little kids.

After around 30 hours on the cold floor, we boarded the plane from Shanghai to Moscow. After a short change in Moscow, I boarded my last plane for a few next months — the plane to Berlin.

The first thing one notices in Berlin after the return is complete emptiness and, more importantly, silence. All the fuss, all the movement of the capital of continental Europe is gone, leaving the space for slow walks in the park and occasional meetings with friends and family. On the contrary to citizens of Russia, Berliners got a real vacation — an opportunity to take one's time, ride a bike, eat doner in one's favorite place and talk to neighbors, all the while keeping a respectful distance. Today's Berlin is like a never-ending «Perfect Day» by Lou Reed filled with the kind of melancholy joy that one can experience on Sunday.
GERMANY, MUNICH
ANASTASIA HEBERLEIN
In Bavaria, a general quarantine has been declared since March 20, and it is expected to last until April 20. At the moment, only food stores, pharmacies, hospitals, gas stations and banks are open. You can order food and drinks at home or take it out with you from cafes and restaurants that are still open (just for this purpose).

You can go out do your things, walk and play sports, but only alone or with people you live with. You can also see your «life partners» and your own children. It is forbidden to linger on benches and in parks for more than a couple of minutes, and significant fines are charged for violations. In the places that people love in Munich, police patrols regularly pass by and monitor the situation. In stores everywhere marks of one and a half meters, most of the cash registers are separated from visitors by a plastic transparent wall. Clusters of people, of course, are prohibited. Most residents of Munich adhere to these rules and try to keep their distance everywhere. The level of panic, opinions about the quarantine and the economic crisis are very different, so it is difficult to generalize.

My first emotions about the situation were annoyance and impotent anger as two trips that I had been waiting for were canceled. On the week before the quarantine was imposed, I met with friends every night after work for several days and tried to drown my anger in alcohol and music. In general, it seems to have worked, because now I sit quietly at home, adhere to all the rules and even get some pleasure from it. Sometimes, of course, I break down a little, but in moments of melancholy I immediately force myself to go for a walk, and everything settles down again. I'm not afraid of getting sick, to be honest. My main activities now are chores, trying to learn, walking, calling friends and relatives, drinking wine in the evenings. I'm so used to my new lifestyle that it's almost absurd to see someone, but I'll be very happy when life gets back to normal. If it will, of course. I think that after today's events, many things can change in people's usual lives: leaving a partner, another job or lack of it, new hobbies, a rethinking of our own interests and goals — not a complete list of what can change. I hope that more people will learn to follow basic hygiene rules.

CZECHIA
DAVID MIRSKY
I'm a student of photography in Prague and since the lockdown of our school on the 11th of March, we have to do our school work and photography tasks at home. We even got a task named «Home isolation». I was planning to have a birthday party at a concert, but on the 12th of March, the government has e issued a countrywide state of emergency. Nothing like a birthday party`s happening any time soon. Personally I miss the chance of getting a call to go somewhere. Now I only await calls to play some CS:GO. But I and my surroundings are in the mindset of waiting and doing the right things to help to flatten the curve. Wash your hands, practice social distancing and be safe.
Tereza Mirská
POLAND
MONIKA MUCHLADO

The past two weeks were rather... interesting. Some may use other adjectives but I will stick with interesting. Almost everything I see in the media is one topic. Meme websites are sunk with it. That one frightening word comes up in every conversation, whether in person or even heard on a podcast. For some, the mere sound of it causes shivers (or maybe a cough) — coronavirus.

At first many of us felt like it wasn't something to worry about, especially when it was far away in Asia. Then things went like an avalanche: the heating situation in Italy; the first proven case of coronavirus in Poland; school shutdowns, then universities, then the border, then lots of workplaces. Two days ago we had new laws specifying under what circumstances we may leave our homes... What is surprising is that even the presidential election, which is still planned for the 10th of May, is completely saturated with discussions of the coronavirus. Now some of us have moved to online working and schooling. Everything is trying to move to the internet, but moving presidential campaigns or government offices is quite a challenge.

But it is not the only challenge we have to face right now. I'm really worried about my country's economy. It seems like many companies won't be able to survive not working for a month or longer, people will lose their jobs, the healthcare system will be even more overrun by people waiting for specialists, and these are only a few examples.

Right now I can say for certain that

Everybody is uncomfortable.

Everybody knows somebody who is working in government.

We are pretty good at organizing local help, from offering shopping for elderly neighbors to sewing masks for hospitals.

It is even more strange, I feel like everything went suddenly very fast, and then stopped. Everyone who calls me tells me that days kinda flew by, and they are not sure where they went. Like we are waiting for something that will never happen.
taken by Bartosz Woźny, Poznań
LATVIA, RIGA
NADIA SMORODINA
In Riga, the quarantine is taking place, and this is already important. Residents try to stay at home, thank them for this, although, of course, no one canceled marginal children around garbages...

In general, the situation in the country is fairly standard, but not as severe as in the rest of Europe. At first, everyone was forced to sit at home, then the borders were closed, but the import of repatriates continues. They are not all conscious, unfortunately, but they seem to be gradually becoming aware of the scale of their responsibility for what is happening. Many people are afraid for their jobs, some have already lost them, there are queues for the labor exchange.

From security measures — disinfectants and gloves at the entrances, plastic boards over the cash registers, people are asked not to pay with cash. Shopping time for pensioners and pregnant women from 8 to 10, when they ask not to wander the rest (we go after 10:30, while there is a chance that it will be empty). ALL PRODUCTS ARE AVAILABLE. Shopping centers are closed on weekends. All entertainment establishments, of course, too; gyms and pools and so on. One day, the police chased people who were playing sports out of the Park. And just today, we issued a decree not to gather more than two people at a time. You can still go outside, which is what I was worried about. The amount of the fine for non-compliance has not yet been discussed.

People react in different ways. Someone is afraid. Someone whines that it's boring. The rest took will in a fist and work, develop, wash houses, at 9 PM slam doctors in the Windows and shout our warm Paldies!

And I learned a new skill and now I can see three dimensional figures in those Magic eye pictures.

FINLAND
EMI WAN HALA
Greetings from Finland! At the time of writing Finland has 1296 tested and active corona cases. During this week I started to work as a nurse at the ER. It has been a quiet week. People don't dare to come to ER because they are afraid they'll catch COVID-19 from there. Of course there has been patients but the ER is currently divided as «clean and dirty» sides. I have been orientating to work as a clean nurse at least at the moment. I consider myself super lucky. I can still continue working and I feel that my input is worthy. I'm not afraid of catching COVID-19. I consider that everything that happens, happens for a reason. I talked with my mom the other day and she said that if she dies because of COVID-19 it is just meant to be, like without it, she would got hit by a car or something else. Of course I don't want my mother to die and she knows how to prevent catching it.

I've heard that many people are anguished by the situation and there are plenty of websites and numbers that you can call to get talking help. I'm feeling anxious only about businesses failing because of the lock down. Last week I tried to support my favorite restaurants. Every day I ordered food to take-out. On the positive side gyms and trainers have offered free lessons online and there is plenty of doing in there. Meditation keeps my mind clear whenever it is needed. The situation isn't going to last forever.

CATALUNYA, BARCELONA
GENA LINKOV
Hello there! My name's Gena and I've lived in Barcelona for six years. Right now due to the alarm state imposed by the Spanish government for almost two weeks I've only gone out of my house to buy food. Looking at it in retrospect, one cannot help but feel surprised by how fast the situation has changed around here. Just three weeks ago I was going to university and then working nights at a local bar, yeah we sometimes imagined that things could go bad and a that a kind of quarantine could be imposed in the following weeks, but surely the kind of quarantine where police beat the crap out of you if you go out to have a walk, y'know. I remember Thursday 12 of march when it was announced that all educational centers will be closed starting the next day. With some of my friends, we went to a bar celebrating the apocalypse with some bottles of wine, we still did not think it would be our last night out for God knows how long. Now two weeks into this mess and the only thing anyone talks about is the absurdity of it all and the desire to just be done with this hell and finally be able to go out and hug everyone.

Though this is probably too optimistic of a view, I mean even when the state of alarm will be off, it won't be the same. I mean it's quite probable I won't be able to do any exams this year and what about concerts and festivals in summer? Or what will happen to all massive manifestations and strikes, the threat of a virus is a perfect excuse to prohibit any gatherings that may defy the system. This of course not entering the conspiracy theories of how now everyone spends more time in front of screens thus giving even more data than usual to companies like Facebook or Google and God knows how they are going to use it. Anyways it is definitely fun to watch the world burn even as we burn with it.

FRANCE, PARIS — RUSSIA, SAINT PETERSBURG
VANYA BROVKIN
As it happens, most of my friends in Paris are not French. When the quarantine regime was introduced, they began to return to their native countries one by one. «Ha-ha-ha, yeah everything will be over in two weeks» — minus three more friends. «What are you worried about, well, Paris looks like at 12 am at 3 am, have you rarely walked through it at night?» Minus two more friends. «Listen, well, it's definitely better to sit out here than in Russia!» — Minus…

In the end, I was almost alone. I can't say that for me this quarantine regime was very different from my usual lifestyle, given that for the last six months my University was constantly closed due to various strikes, and therefore I was left to myself 24/7. Most of all, I was sorry that all the libraries were closed. I was very glad that I did not return 12 books (the maximum number that can be borrowed from the University library), which I always frantically take and do not have time to read, because there are still several dozen unfinished books at home. But despite the fact that I introduced a regime of self-isolation into my life at the age of 16, the lack of opportunities to go out on the street began to drive me a little crazy, and I literally fell into a kind of vinaigrette of depressive-obsessive-compulsive-I am very pressed by the walls-paranoid-and-just-a-little-anxiety disorder. I tore up the lease, washed all the dried macaroni and broken glass from under the kitchen stove, and went back to St. Petersburg.

During the quarantine, Paris did not differ much from its usual appearance. The homeless and dealers who always crowded around my Boulevard Barbés (which translates as «Boulevard of the barbarians», very ironic, isn't it?), were there as they were before the quarantine. Every time I went out to buy my standard set of cookies, a bag of chips, 5 percent beef patties for 3.65 (I never figured out 5 percent of what is in these) and batteries, I asked myself-why don't they do something with them? They just blow their noses at themselves while I have to sign a new piece of paper every day just to take out the trash. Delicious.

In the white-stone houses in the city center, only a couple of apartments are still lit, although it would seem that everyone should be at home (apparently, mine and my friends' guesses that the main cause of problems with housing in Paris is not related to the illegal airbnb, as the authorities are trying to convince us, but with bobo, who buy apartments here, since money is thus stored even more safely than in a Swiss Bank cell, and never live in them, turned out to be correct). Parisians are still the same as before – strange, kind, with a fake smile. Now social distance must be observed at the level of the law, and not only at the expense of etiquette. Thank God. It was very revealing that when I went to my friend's apartment on the last day to leave my things there, people applauded me from the Windows all the way from the metro. I saw a lot of videos on instagram, as well as applauded the doctors or a man in a Batman costume who managed to buy toilet paper, but here it was absolutely not clear – whether they were really happy to see me (as well as all the runners who flew past me every two minutes), or whether it was a real walk of shame.

However, this is the whole of Paris.

The only thing that has really changed is the metro. Because of the fact that people have almost stopped using it, before the trains were usually Packed — 10 percent of ordinary people returning from work and from any other endroit allowed by Macron's decree, and the remaining 90 city madmen. They're usually not very annoying unless they've managed to get another crack dose, but they've been trying their best to get at least a few coins out of you right pocket. Even my favorite trick of starting to speak to them in Russian did not help. I felt sorry for them, of course, but I was even more afraid that one of them would stab me in a fit of anger. It wouldn't be unusual, though. As in the whole of this quarantine.
RUSSIA, SAINT PETERSBURG
MASHA VALMUS
How beautiful spring in Saint Petersburg is! Sun, good weather, bars that continue to operate secretly in order to avoid getting caught by the police. Residents of St. Petersburg want to get some fresh air and take their children out to play on a playground. Saint Petersburg residents want to drink beer and not think about death. On the other hand, what can you expect when the president of the country declares a «holiday», not a quarantine, and the vast majority of work simply cannot be taken to home?

What is it if not a mentality? «I have not read any articles, but I heard that the panic around the virus is beneficial to someone». It's a great idea, but I'm not going to think about it. This is not about everyone, but about many. This puts a lot of things in place in your head. When your friend posts an invitation to their home «quarantine» party, it's a great time to think about who will return to a normal life after the epidemic and who will stay in isolation forever.

UKRAINE
DASHA

On March 3, Ukraine confirmed the first case of a COVID-19 infection, it was a man from Chernivtsi, who recently returned to Ukraine from a trip. Most reported cases (not including Kiev) are recorded in the Western regions — their residents visit Europe more often, many of them work there.

Since March 12, the country gradually began to introduce quarantine — first of all universities were closed, then the metro was closed and public transport restricted (no more than 10 people in a cabin ), later, they closed intercity passenger transport, closed the border to foreigners, special flights returned Ukrainian citizens home who were abroad and could not get home in time due to the cancellation of regular flights and border closures in Europe.

In addition to state borders, it was also necessary to close movement across the contact line (5 entry and exit checkpoints between government-controlled and non-government-controlled areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions) — this measure negatively affected many families separated by the contact line and Ukrainians permanently living in non-controlled territories (in the so-called DPR and LPR), since they are indefinitely cut off from receiving state, social services, banking services, mail, etc. Access to humanitarian aid is also restricted in government-controlled areas.

Now everything in the cities is closed, except for grocery stores and pharmacies. People are asked to stay at home if possible. Many businesses have moved their employees to remote work or offered them vacations. The media constantly informs the public about the situation and the necessary precautions. At first some anxiety was present,but there is no particular panic. Some, of course, are stocking up on buckwheat and toilet paper, but there are products in stores. Personal protective equipment (masks, gloves, sanitizers) became more expensive — at some point they were in short supply, as well as alcohol in pharmacies, but now the excitement has subsided a little, and new batches have come to retail chains, so getting a mask and sanitizer is no longer a problem.

Until April 24 , there is a state of emergency in Ukraine. This means that all civil protection services are working in an enhanced mode (law enforcement, informing citizens, disinfection of objects and territories, special sanitary and epidemiological measures).

At the beginning of the quarantine in the city, I didn't like it. Especially how carelessly people behaved — Instead of isolating themselves and avoiding public places at first as if no one was going to, many, on the contrary, perceived the quarantine as a vacation and an excuse to meet, walk, go shopping and visit each other. So my sisters and I ran away to the country. There is so much work here in the spring that there is simply no time to follow the news and reflect on the impermanence of life. Everything else is now online. Yesterday, for example, my friends and I had a zoom party. I have Skype sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays. My meetings with a psychotherapist — also on Skype. The rest of the time, I play peasant. Today I put up a greenhouse in which I sowed greens.

KAZAKHSTAN, ALMATY
SALTANAT BERDIEVA
We have a curfew. You only can go to a store or pharmacy

It's crazy.

However...

There are different ways to complain. You can do this as if the difficulty you experienced only gave you strength, and you can make a cult of excellence out of it.

We need to have faith in change. The belief that you can get better. As it turned out, not everyone believes this. And in my life, everything is so static that the only thing that wakes you up is the change of the season, the singing of birds and cats during March.

The arrival of this spring made an impression on me, I acutely felt the desire to create, to create myself.

It is necessary to understand that morality is not necessary for the people as a collective unit, but for you as an individual. So that in situations where the spirit is really needed, you act nobly, acting on your own prescription. As soon as there is a rejection of morality in the sense of «generally accepted norms», there is a rejection of any correctness. Morality is not selective, it belongs to life.

GEORGIA, RUSTAVI
PAPUNA LOMOURI

We just got full quarantine on 30th of March.

It's been over a month since the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Georgia and a lot has changed in the country since then, A LOT! I guess, nobody would have imagined that we would have to live the way we are living now. Yes, this is not the first pandemic in history but this definitely is the first one probably after Spanish Flu to have consequences of such severity. The world is in a deep crisis and so is Georgia, even though we have less than 100 confirmed cases in the country. Since the first case, the government started to do their best to slow down the process of spreading the virus and many people have the feeling that this is the first time the government is actually taking care of the situation or the people. It seems the country and its forces (police, army, medical services) were ready to face the problem, and that there are enough resources. Regular people, on the other hand, are in deep confusion, as nobody knows when all of this will end. They all say that they can't survive like this for long. They are also afraid of the future, since it is quite blurry from this perspective, as we can't predict what's going to happen.

Georgia was quite dependent on tourism, and not only have a lot of people lost their jobs, but we are also expecting that the whole tourism business is going to stop in 2020.

Of course, almost anything has its good and bad sides and this is no exception. One of the good things that COVID-19 brought to us is the way it has unified people (I know it sounds funny since we are all advised to stay away with each other). Usually, Georgian society is quite contentious, there is a lot of disagreement within the people over any kind of topic, but now since the only social issue is the consequences of COVID-19, I feel like people are starting to appreciate each other more. Now a lot of people stay at home and respect and value their families more (but also to be completely fair and honest, a lot of people also want the quarantine to end soon so that they will have the freedom that they don't have now).

TURKEY, ISTANBUL
ZEYNEP UZMEN

I hate and adore the human mind for many reasons and a pandemic, a virus just reminded me why again. Humans feel secure in groups. Excuse my imperfect biological background. They also love power. When a pandemic becomes the number one news on the planet, humans want to feel in control and put together. They wanna look around; we'll look around on the internet, and see everyone holding hands mentally. We want to feel safe and in control. We do that with singing Imagine and posting youtube videos on how to manage our anxiety in this chaotic time. But we keep making the same mistake. While wanting to feel together with all of our bones we also exclude and forget about our luxuries. I love it when a famous person evokes ideas and makes us feel good by saying «We are in this together». But we are not. Excuse me for being too «communist manifesto» but we can never be.

In Turkey, we have The Blind, The Worker and The Powerful. We have The Blind as in, they don't know anything at all. They think they know. I had this man who delivered me my mail and told me he can't catch the virus. I saw this old lady praying every day knowing that pray will solve everything. I call this The Blind in the most polite way possible. Only if we had more people reading books and good sourced news.

Then we have The Worker, they always break my heart and speak to my socialist soul. They have to be present at work. You know in some countries it's all forbidden and it's the law now? Not going out? They go out. But not because they are blind. Because people in power need to stay in power.

The Powerful is me and my family. Even though I am not even fully «middle class» I am in a powerful position. Because that's how much everything shifted on this planet. I am powerful because I have my words, my big novel sitting on my nightstand and my food in my belly. Don't think this is a «thanks to lords I have food» kind of perspective. This is just a reality. Me and my some lucky friends keep fighting in order to save The Blind and The Worker but they call us the «idealist» and the «baby».

The Pandemic makes people think after all of it we will be a peaceful society. Because we saw the chaos and the hunger. But The Blind don't see, The Worker already got used to it and The Powerful just keeps losing their minds.
ISRAEL
NATASHA

On March 25, Israeli authorities established vigorous restrictions because of an increasing amount of COVID-cases in Israel. Basically, since Wednesday Israelis can leave their houses only for helping other people or buying groceries and medicals.

Speaking about the outside world here, in Ramat Gan, I must admit that a lot of things have changed in the last few weeks. Parks are closed, the amount of public transport noticeably decreased and most of the shops with non-groceries are closed. There are still some people on the streets but old people don't go for a walk in places where they used to. Now I have to stay in line to the majority of supermarkets because of «keep 2-meter distance» rules.

I can't say that people on the streets became more aggressive or anxious, but the atmosphere slightly reminds me of post-apocalypse-movies. Or you can just imagine that it is Shabbat and you are in Jerusalem.

I'm a foreign student in Israel, my Hebrew skills are very poor (I can hardly express myself in everyday life situations) and I share an apartment with 5 other people. Frankly speaking, it doesn't sound like a good quarantine-starter-pack.

In order to not go crazy, my neighbors and I are trying to take it easy on the one hand, but on the other to give at least some private space to each other. But at the same time, we try and spend evenings together. One day, for example, we watch Polanski's «Repulsion», the other – we run a marathon of «Soldiers» (an extremely bad sitcom about the Russian army, filmed in the middle of 00s. Very nostalgic and time-wasting).

I myself try to follow simple recommendations that you probably have already seen on the web: plan your schedule, change your clothes whatever it takes, cook tasty food and stay active (after a few days of sitting at home you will have a wild urge to exercise, trust me). Actually, when all those rules become life-saving, it makes them much easier to follow.

I've seen two completely different opinions on how corona could affect the modern world. According to the first one, after several months of isolation, people will ardently come back to their old habits like hanging out with friends in bars, traveling, eating out, etc. Others suppose that the experience of isolation will persuade us to reconsider our lifestyle and consuming habits.

As a stereotypical millennial, I myself, on the one hand, wish that life will come back to normal in a few months. Actually, hanging out with friends in bars and traveling were cool. However, I suggest you take quarantine as an opportunity to try trending «slow-lifestyle». I believe it can be somehow beneficial, especially in a time of so much uncertainty and troubles.

Because, let's be honest: yes, COVID-19 is not as dangerous for us personally, but it could be dangerous for our relatives and friends. And all the mess it has done to our everyday life, our plans and the world economy could be a bit overwhelming and stressful. Switching from a busy modern life-flow to a slower one, with less social interactions and more creative activities, could actually give you some powerful insights.

My neighbors and I, for example, are going to celebrate Shabbat last weekend for the first time in our lives for real. So, Shabbat shalom ve shavua tov to all of you, guys!

taken by @ok_olga, Ramat Gan
ENDLESS SHABBAT
AUSTRALIA, BRISBANE
VICTORIA FRANCHESKA
I saw children playing. I saw three children playing outside their house the other day, I have not seen that in a long time. Or, maybe I haven't noticed? Maybe I have been so swept up in my own «stuff» that I failed to notice…

I knew change was coming. I could feel the winds of change brewing in the months prior. I cannot pinpoint exactly what it was, but it felt like we were collectively hurtling towards a cataclysm. Almost like all of our misgivings had combined to serve us with our karma. Energy is real and collective energy seems undeniably real. Actions have consequences and it seems we had all forgotten that. When I hear people exclaim that they were blindsided by this pandemic I question their statement. Unless you are truly ignorant, did you think the pace of our lives was sustainable? Not only the pace, but the quality? It wasn't.

So we stayed home. We were forced to stay home. For the first time in our lifetime, our wings had been clipped. We were forced to not only look at our shadows, but to sit next to them- everyday. Now, this activity will be enough to bring people to their knees. It will bring to their knees those who cannot see the bigger picture and understand why this is happening to the world.

To report on the state of Australia is something I am not equipped to do. I am confined to my home after all. I am torn between feeling impatient and feeling liberated. I am leaning more into the feeling of liberation, like I am standing on the precipice of a new world. That is what I hope at least. Surely an event of this magnitude must guarantee change? I want to have enough faith in humanity that we have learnt our lesson, or at least a lesson. Sadly I don't though. We will just move on and forget about our corona woes. Globalisation will run rampant again and we will retreat back into our own little worlds. It just won't be as apparent because we will be back in the world but we will still be in isolation.

If it were up to me, I would want to start a new collective chapter where people to rejoice with humble gestures and continue to tread lightly… «back to basics» is a phrase that comes to mind. Every week I drop food hampers at my Dad's house, I can't believe I had not thought of this before. Everyday I sit on the porch with my dog and breathe deeply. I finally sat down and began writing my book. I ate chocolate and rubbed cream onto my body. I ran and smiled at everyone I passed — they smiled back too (groundbreaking). I finally exhaled. I sat with my shadow and made peace with my past, present and future. So, whatever happens — I want to remain changed by this. I want to live more simply and feel contented by less. I can only hope others feel the same too.
AND THE CHILDREN PLAYED OUTSIDE
USA, NEW YORK CITY
NASTYA MOROZOVA
There are three of us: two adults and a teenager. We have been self-isolating since March 16 when schools in New York officially closed. Now I realize that it's only been three weeks: it's not that long. The situation changed by leaps and bounds, every day brought something new, and so it seems like two months have passed. On March 1 we had guests, and we all maniacally washed their hands. A week later there were people in masks on city streets, in two weeks the subway was almost empty, and so on.

In the US the inability to stay within four walls is called cabin fever (a cabin is a small wooden house in the wilderness). Stories of how everyone couldn't handle the cabin fever filled the English speaking internet all through March. Crowds of people spilled out onto sunny streets every day, and in some areas, people did not even try to keep the recommended distance of 6 feet (1.8 meters). It is not surprising that NY State has the highest infection and death rate in the country.

Despite the fact that ambulance sirens are constantly wailing outside our windows — every day there are more and more of them — I do not feel alarmed. I've accepted the situation: we will stay home for a couple of months, most likely until the end of May. Can I change this? No. Am I afraid of getting sick? Also, no. I had been worried about my parents and grandparents who live in Russia, but they swore to observe security measures to the maximum. After all, because they know firsthand about the disastrous situation in Italy (my aunt lives there) and in New York, they believe in the seriousness of what is happening and the importance of isolation.

It is interesting to observe myself as my views and feelings change. For example, the best days in isolation are the rainy days, because you do not regret that you can't aimlessly walk the streets. The best time of the day is in the morning, because in the morning I do yoga on Zoom, and then I make a delicious breakfast. And, a thousand times yes, a routine really helps you feel like a person.

During the first week of the quarantine, many businesses and nonprofit organizations sent requests for support (by email or in social networks) to their customers, but now this flow has decreased. The other day, we distributed the «coronavirus budget» to whom we saw fit. Given how difficult it is for small businesses at the moment, I assume that the flow of emails will revive at some point, and then fade away, along with these businesses. This is very sad. I am very sorry for all the people who put their heart into their work and now find themselves in a difficult situation.

Checking your privilege is common if you live in the United States. In the context of a pandemic, this is relevant for the entire world. We are really lucky: we have a financial safety net, we have the ability to work remotely, no loss in our income, and we have a roof over our heads. We can not only provide for ourselves but also help others — with money or by acts of kindness. This is very important now: if you have the opportunity to help, do it. If you have a job, time, and energy, help those who don't have it.

Now it is very difficult to imagine what the world will be like when it wakes up after the pandemic. Most of us are just at the beginning, and changes happen not by weeks, but literally by the hour. I try to be objectively pessimistic, imagining the exponentially growing unemployment, the growing number of homeless people, and, homeless animals on the streets too. But at the same time, I believe that people have already learned to help each other in difficult situation. Yes, I can already see it in messages about helping the elderly, in collecting money for shelters and foundations, in setting up private production of protective equipment for healthcare workers. So after the end of the pandemic, we will join hands (it will be possible!) and help each other.



USA, CHICAGO / L. A.
KAMIL LUNGU
I am a senior at a small liberal arts school in California. My senior year, which is quite sentimental in American culture, was cut short by the pandemic. I remember the process in which my peers came to realize the magnitude of the situation. First came the media panic, then the cancellation of public events, and soon rumors started to spread about classes being cancelled. The week of March 9 was the turning point. I awoke that morning to news that Harvard cancelled in-person classes and had forced all students to evacuate. We were all in denial. Maybe it was just an overreaction? Maybe California will be spared? So far the cases in LA have been low. Alas, that Wednesday I was having a peppy lunch at our international dining hall, we received the email: all classes will be moved online and we had a week to leave. My jaw dropped and my eyes began to tear: was it the end of my college career as I know it? I called my parents, booked a ticket home for the following week, and went back to my dorm. The campus had an eerie apocalyptic feeling, with people recklessly drinking and partying, while others mourned the end of their senior years. Others had to face the possibility of being homeless or returning to less-than-ideal home situations. The following week was a blur of packing, saying goodbye, and pure debauchery. I finally flew home the following Wednesday through an almost empty LAX. I returned home to my loving parents, warm bed, and home cooked Polish food — privileges that many students do not have.

USA, PROVIDENCE
CLARA GUTMAN
Brown told us we had ten days to move out. Then a community member tested positive, and we had three cases.
Last Wednesday, I was still planning on taking my housemates home with me to Barcelona during spring break.
For many U.S. college students, spring break is the chance to book cheap flights and travel; for some, like one of my housemates, it is their first time outside of the United States. As a second-year student at Brown University, born and raised in Terrassa, a city just outside Barcelona, I was very excited to enjoy home with my housemates in the warm March weather.
Our plans were cut short by what The Atlantic has called «quite possibly the single most disruptive event in American higher education in at least a half-century.»
For many college students around the U.S., COVID-19 didn't just disrupt spring break plans, it disrupted the rest of the school year, as college campuses across the country sent students home and moved classes online.
Our first sign that this might directly impact our campus came on Wednesday when one of my roommates sent me a tweet from The Harvard Crimson saying Harvard was moving classes online and had told its students not to return from spring break.
One by one, the Ivies started announcing similar measures. Columbia, Princeton, Penn.
Six hours earlier, I had still been disappointed that my city's traditional jazz festival had been canceled and my housemates wouldn't get to taste butifarra sausage and Estrella Damm beer. Now, the Catalonia trip was forgotten. The question was: when would it be Brown's turn?
That night, my phone buzzed with an update from The New York Times. Trump was banning all travel from Europe. I received a flood of WhatsApps from concerned friends and family: would I be able to return home? I understood that I would, but I wasn't sure if I'd be able to come back to campus after spring break if classes resumed. It turned out that would not happen.
The following morning, we received an email from the University's president asking us not to return to campus after spring break. Classes would move online for the rest of the semester. We had ten days to arrange travel plans home, figure out summer storage, and move out.
What did this mean for those of us affected by the European travel ban? Concerns spread among European students at peer institutions, too. Brown offered some international students the chance to stay on campus, a choice that some of my European friends decided to make. Others booked last-minute weekend flights to Greece, Turkey and the UK, afraid that they wouldn't be able to make it home.
I'm a reporter for The Brown Daily Herald, Brown's student-run daily newspaper, and that Thursday was the Herald staff's last night together. We joked about being foreign correspondents in our home communities and vowed to publish stories so we could keep the Herald «Daily.»
I booked a plane ticket for the coming Tuesday, the earliest direct flight from Boston to Barcelona. This turned out to be perfect timing. On Saturday, Brown announced its first confirmed case of COVID-19, and we received a follow-up email asking us to leave campus by Tuesday. We now had three days to arrange travel plans home, figure out summer storage, and move out.
Over the weekend, Spain announced a state of emergency and implemented containment measures. There was talk about closing airports. Parents who lived within driving distance from the campus drove up to Providence, RI to help their children move out - they hauled cardboard boxes into car trunks and drove away. The campus became empty, dining halls resorted to minimum services. I said goodbye to friends while keeping an eye on news updates.
When I eventually flew home, the plane was mostly empty. I was able to lie down across four empty seats in the second-class part of the aircraft and sleep through my transatlantic flight.
USA, LOUISIANA
ANTHONY STONER
I am from Gretna, Louisiana, a town of 17,000 people, which can be found across the river from New Orleans. In late February, New Orleans held Mardi Gras, a yearly celebration stemming from the city's French Catholic heritage. Thousands came and drank, as usual. Cruise ships from the Caribbean docked and unloaded their passengers - boomers bored with life onshore. Soon after, the cases of the virus began.

Last fall, a new location of the "Hard Rock Hotel," a rock music-themed hotel chain, then under construction downtown, collapsed. Several workers died, and their corpses remained in the open air, half-buried under rubble, for weeks. The worker who had tried to blow the whistle on the building code violations was fired and deported.

Ten years ago, BP's "Deepwater Horizon" oil rig off the Louisiana coast caught on fire, spilling tons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Fisheries were ruined, pelicans suffocated under oil, the fragile swamps died even more quickly than they already had been.

Five years before that, Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana, flooding much of New Orleans. The poorer, and predominantly black, neighborhoods of the city were left underwater by local, state, and federal governments. Refugees tried to flee across the river; Gretna police wouldn't let them come down from the bridge. Other police at other bridges shot refugees. Thousands died, all told.

I mentioned these past events in order to give context as to what is happening now. Southern Louisiana is part of another America, one you won't see in the media. It is a colonial extraction-based economy. Large chains come in, take the oil and natural resources, profit from tourist schemes, exploit tax-exempt status offered by politicians desperate for business. Meanwhile, Louisiana has the highest poverty rate in the country. Many lack access to adequate healthcare, many are uninsured.

Gretna is a sort of border town. The border between Trumpland and New Orleans. The mostly white, conservative rural residents, and the often poorer, mostly black residents of the city.

As of today, about 1500 deaths from the novel coronavirus have been confirmed in Louisiana, the majority in New Orleans. More are expected. A neighboring parish, St. John the Baptist, has the highest death rate in the nation. Factories and oil refineries spot the swamps there, spewing out chemicals that residents claim are responsible for the health conditions from which they suffer. The area is called "Cancer Alley." Government officials do nothing to help.

When the crisis first broke, the mayor held a press conference. Now that the city had been shut down, the rats which inhabit it are hungry, run through the streets. She was worried that starving rats would attack the homeless people who huddle in sleeping bags under the interstate downtown, minutes from the high-rises occupied by oil companies, law firms. The homeless people were moved into empty hotel rooms: for a brief moment, our government recognizes the human right to housing, sure to be forgotten as soon as the threat from the disease fades.

Louisiana also has the highest rate of imprisoned people in the country. Until this week, juries could legally imprison people for life without a unanimous vote. Thousands, many non-violent offenders, live in prisons and jails. Some have already died from the virus. Activists warned that unless officials release non-violent offenders, the virus would devastate the imprisoned population, however, very few listen.

Louisiana lies in another America, a dark underbelly of capitalism which you won't see reflected in Hollywood shows about happy suburban families. No one is listening, and our fate is in our own hands.

I walked down to the river the other day. It was higher than I have ever seen it. Water lapped against the top of the levee as if it would push the levee over and waves would wash through the town. Folks walked along the levee, some with children or dogs, eyeing one another suspiciously and from an appropriate distance. The Mississippi River was silent. Normally, it is filled with tugboats, barges, oil tankers, ferries. Instead, it was silent. I sat for a while and imagined the river breaking free of the strictures forced on it, flooding City Hall and overturning oil tankers. After which, I walked home.


ITALY, ROME
NICOLÁ
🌳ROME🌳: Streetview, SILENCE in ROME ... like all over the 🌎🌏🌍 just let's meditate "bellezza🌿beauty"🌳

That's my contribution by ♥️

I have nothing else to say♥️
BRAZIL
LORENA DANTAS REBOUÇAS
It's not only about the virus. Brazilian President refuses to follow WHO's recommendations. We are lost. Besides that, we, Brazilians, are forced to live led by a ex-militar who reduced social rights, social benefits, education for poorest people, and so on. Therefore, the COVID-19 changed everything in our daily lives: being a country where almost the half of it is living in the marginality and can't stop working, otherwise, they will starve. The virus became the ghost. Everyday we see people dying and at the same time, people not respecting the quarantine. Trying to survive the virus and Bolsonaro government.

MOROCCO IN THE TIME OF CORONA
MANAL KHARRAZ
Consumerism has skyrocketed in Morocco, and so has the ratio of burnt pans and failed dishes per household, both resulting from locked-in youngsters trying to occupy their spare time since self-quarantine was advised.

No Moroccan could have predicted the flexibility our government would show regarding the public health emergency that is the pandemic of Corona, not even the government itself had any contingency plans.

A fund of one billion dollars has been raised to upgrade the healthcare infrastructure and help the vulnerable economic sectors in the wake of the outbreak, but I guess things were so screwed not even a billion dollars would fix it.

Schools and universities were closed, virtual school programs were offered as an alternative. Embassies and work offices were shut down «until further notice», and telework has been on the rise in certain fields. Financial assistance via RAMED, Morocco's flagship social protection and health program, is being offered to workers in the formal and informal sectors who are affected by coronavirus.

In the streets, however, the «proletariat» is still moving to its own rhythm, working and congregating in order to support itself, while only the educated and financially stable families are staying in.

Sporting events and annual music festivals were canceled.

So far the government has helped maintain jobs and mitigate the pandemic's social repercussions, but people nevertheless fear the economic consequences of the virus, and failed attempts to maintain a pre-pandemic social live have been met with police intervention

What can we do while the healthcare system is begging us to «flatten the curve» you may ask?A friend of mine created a blog.
A neighbor started practicing the french horn, to our great dismay.
People dusted off their long watchlist for Netflix, the cheaper ones got new free trials with their second or third bank account in order to stream shows.

Some have come down to texting their exes, resorting to the Pandemic as «as good an excuse as any».

Others are attempting to resolve their long-lasting family issues.But the brilliant minds such as I, downloaded Duolingo and are attempting to finish first in the sapphire league.
In brief, university students are trying to stay sane to the best of their abilities, while others are working and trying to survive on a small revenue from teleworking.

What is there to add to that?

Listen to Nina Simone's song «I got life» when feeling desperate to feel alive while on quarantine.

CANADA, TORONTO
WILLIAM LOMONOSOV
When the first confirmed case of the virus was confirmed in Ontario on January 25, 2020, nobody in the province, nor the country gave it much attention. I presume that everyone anticipated the renowned Canadian healthcare system to stop the spread in its tracks, nobody could've predicted the turn of events. As of now, April 19, 2020, the country has been in a state of emergency for a little over a month, with social distancing laws and quarantine directions following shortly.

I remember the first and largest wave of panic, which made the hyper-paranoid line up in stores and wholesalers, completely buying out all available sanitizers, gloves and face masks in a matter of days. As these items flew off shelves many began questioning the ethics of those who saw a means of making a profit in times of crisis. Social media exploded with proponents of price gougers both in the public and private sectors. People were buying into the hysteria of others and joining the ranks of the terrified and misinformed.

I have been without work for over a month now, along with countless others in the city and country. This did not have the grim continuation of events I had expected. The federal government had allocated a vast sum of money to help those being financially affected as a result of the national and global crisis, with monthly payments of approximately $2000 (CAD). The provincial and federal governments reached further and extended tax return deadlines later into the summer, along with a «pay no rent" policy for the month of April, both for private and commercial estates.

As one roams the empty, grey and dirty streets of downtown Toronto, obeying necessary precautions and somewhat unrealistic social distancing laws, the fine of which goes up to $1000; it is impossible not to notice how rubber gloves and masks have become the number 1 polluter of the streets, replacing cigarette butts and most of the trash left by the homeless. With a collective and communal spirit arising, many have adopted the new tradition of banging their pots and pans, blowing their kazoos and shouting from their balconies, as a sign of gratuity and support for the front line workers and all medical staff. This, of course, is done with cheeky smiles and countless Instagram and twitter videos emerging of «philanthropic» individuals, «fighting the good fight». This, however, seems to bring out only fury and sadness within me.

I anticipate things to settle down and resume «business as normal» by the middle of June. Many are complaining of the unfairness of it all and how boring it is to be confined at home. In this age of social media and public perception addiction, I'm not surprised as to these comments. People are afraid of facing their demons, not seeing this as an opportunity to reconnect with themselves and their loved ones. I hope people will come to see the importance of not only «moving up» in the world, but also to flourish and enrich their minds and spirits.
TORONTO AMIDST THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
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