Life in the Time of Coronavirus
If you haven’t read, here is the post from Day 1 of the April A2Z Challenge: Ambiance setting.
THE BEGINNING: The Australian Bushfires that began in June 2019 and peaked to catastrophic levels in Dec 19-Jan 2020 was finally contained by Mar 2020. I being in India, didn’t really know or think about the intensity of it because I wasn’t directly associated with it. And so, when I read about those fires in the news that burnt about 4.6 Cr acres, killed about 1 billion animals and around 34 humans, I was shocked. I followed the news for a while, watched some scarring videos on social media that voiced strongly that the climate change was staring in our eyes as a result of our irresponsible ways of life and shared them because I knew it was true. I shared gruesome pictures of burnt, dying animals, and shared stories of humans rescuing them so that someone else, not me, but someone else who would read it would see how they are ruining the planet and would do something solid about it. Then, they would share it. And soon, I went on about my life (just like I would do after writing this post) while the bush fires that were still burning and killing lives, were forgotten.
Why I am talking about the Bushfires right now?
I walked into my office one January morning and the friend who always has a news tab open in his laptop, told me about a virus that had been detected in China. I wasn’t shocked. The last 10 years had multiple viruses surfacing in different parts of the world. Much like the bushfires, we heard the news of the new virus, learnt a bit about it, felt scared, felt sorry and then let it go.
It was called The Novel Coronavirus.
Initially we thought it was restricted to just China and we didn’t pay much heed. My sister who was working in Taiwan had come home for the Chinese New Year. Since she knew people from that area, she was more informed about the situation. That is how it is, isn’t it? If you are associated with a place that’s going through tough times, you know the plight of the people there. It is through her that I realized that the situation in China was gruesome!
The Beginning of the Beginning – China
The first cases of Coronavirus in Wuhan, China became apparent in early Dec. However, since an epidemic wasn’t anticipated, the symptoms weren’t taken very seriously. Gradually, the number of cases began increasing. By Mid-December, a 34 year old Doctor, Li Wenliang had warned a few medics about some of his patients showing SARS-like symptoms. But his warning was considered a rumor. Later we would hear the news of his sad demise from the very same virus he had warned about.
Within a week of Li’s warning, he’s proved right however it was believed that the virus was spread only through animals. It wasn’t until the 3rd week of January that the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission admitted to the possibility off limited human-to-human contact (Source – Livemint).
From Jan 23rd restrictions were imposed in Wuhan on the movement of people. Temperatures were checked, travel history of every resident was logged and China went on a mass lock-down and took several other measures. The number of cases skyrocketed with each passing day. But while China was actively working towards curbing its cases, you know the flurry of people that flew from and to China between December 8th and Jan 23rd. The Bush-fires might have been restricted to Australia, but the Coronavirus wasn’t restricted to China. And that is why I am writing these posts now!
KERALA, INDIA – The Beginning
3 students traveling from Wuhan to Kerala were the first positive cases of Coronavirus in India. They were quarantined and the Kerala Government declared a ‘State Calamity warning’. Countries started to lock down their airports and India set out to bring back our people, who were stranded in different parts of the world starting with Wuhan.
China had been appealing to countries against evacuation following which Pakistan decided not to evacuate its citizens. Pakistan cited multiple reasons of which one was that during these times it wanted to stand with its “all-weather ally” (China)[Source: The Diplomat]. But none of this assuaged the grief of the Pakistani community stranded in Wuhan and that is understandable. If you’re sick or if there is a state of emergency, you’d rather be home than be elsewhere. And as the Pakistani students watched helplessly, their counterparts from the other countries were being evacuated. I imagined myself in the shoes of those students in Wuhan and the parents in Pakistan. I wanted to add this part here to show how various countries reacted to the situation and how we were beginning to get a glimpse of the various colors the world was turning into.
By Jan 31st, Coronavirus/ Covid-19 had been declared a global emergency.
This post is a part of April A2Z Challenge 2020 with Blogchatter. Every day of April, I will be publishing one post on the Theme, ‘Life in the time of Coronavirus’. If you like my writings, you can also follow me on Instagram at @afew.handpickedthings.