Life during Corona Virus-Updates from 27 cities around the world!

Given the corona virus pandemic has gripped the world and crippling lives everywhere, I asked my friends and fellow bloggers in different parts of the world to share a small snippet on what's going on in their city. It is more touchy to hear it from our near and dear ones, than reading it on news websites. So these updates will give you a first hand account of life in different parts of the world right now.
I've kept the inputs as it is except for some minor corrections. Do read.
 -------------------------------- Updates from Oceania -------------------------

1. Sydney, Australia
Most supermarkets are out of stock. White rice and other key items are also out of stock. Where available, items like toilet rolls, tissue paper, milk etc are rationed- only one or max 2 per person. Bondi beach is being closed. Most pools, gyms , public library are also being closed. Most businesses and day jobs are affected.
-Inputs from Manasa T in Sydney (http://manasamel.blogspot.com/)

2. Perth, Australia
Situation is not worse. Advisory is not to go out unnecessarily. Supplies - toilet paper and sanitizers not available

WA now has 64 recorded cases of corona virus.
Australia is now closed for people other than citizens and residents
Suburb lock down being planned

-Inputs from Balaji

3. Melbourne, Australia
All schools haven't been closed , however schools that had 1-2 cases of covid have been shut, parents have decided they wouldn't wait for government to make the call and 50% of them have stopped sending their kids to school, few schools are doing a Google classroom and few are sending study materials online that is assessed by teachers. Swim schools have been closed as well. Many offices have asked people to work from home.

Borders have been closed for all outgoing international flights and incoming international flight allowing only residents to return into Australia. Toilet rolls,masks,sanitizers, hand washes finding them are the biggest issue, but people are panic buying and supermarkets are pretty empty nothing left on most aisles. Panic buy also in Indian groceries and at chemists. Many big fast food chains like KFC have closed their doors for people dining in and offer only pick up.

-Inputs from Kethan
Bolte Bridge, Melbourne
---------------- Input from Canada -----------------------------

4. Toronto, Canada
Kavipriya Moorthy sends this update from Toronto, Canada

Toronto people didn't take the Corona virus seriously until Justin's wife herself tested positive. The number of cases touched almost 1000 today and across all the provinces & territories of Canada. The grocery stores were filled with people that they had to work on crowd management. People bought mini freezers and hired trucks to store meat and essentials. The city is doing it's best. Tests are conducted at various convenient solutions and helplines are all provided. To avoid panic, if any are tested positive, others are notified properly and strict measures are taken by companies and organizations.

---------------------- Inputs from USA ------------------------------
5. San Diego, California, USA
About 55 cases and no death so far. Schools are closed, everyone working from home. California people have been advised to stay indoors. Almost till one week ago everyone thought it will go away the seriousness is only being felt now. Supermarkets like CostCo and Walmart ran out of essential supplies last week, hopefully they got fresh stock this week.

-Inputs by a close friend. Name withheld for privacy reasons.
USS Midway, San Diego CA
6. San Francisco, CA
Yes we are good for now especially with the stuff that people have hoarded. There are no issues with buying fresh vegetables and even walking in parks as long as people don’t meet and gather.


7. New York
5600 cases and 43 deaths, New York is worst affected state in USA. People are still moving around for essential chores.

8. Detroit, Michigan
Statistics: Virus officially entered our state on 10th March. It was steady for the first 5 days and then started to infect people rapidly. Numbers kept doubling everyday and current count of people who are tested positive is 600. So far 5 people have died. Government is taking help from private organisations to conduct tests now which will probably increase the numbers further at a higher rate.
All the schools are closed from two weeks for a month for now. Most of the companies have mandated their employees to work from home until further notice. Government institutes such as public library, secretary of state office, post offices are closed too. Roads are mostly empty all the times. Grocery crisis: Panic buying started around 3 days before virus entered the state. In the beginning it was mainly the toilet paper, hand sanitizer and drinking water that was on a high demand. Stores soon started to restrict the purchase of these items to one per family. Costco, a wholesale store had billing lines with over 200 people waiting for hours during first week. Vegetables and meat section are usually half empty but certainly manageable. At present the crowd is much lesser due to the spread of virus and also there is enough stock of groceries at everyone's house by now. Indian grocery stores also had heavy shortage of rice, dal, other groceries and some other essential cooking ingredients such as coconut, curry leaves etc. A store that took advantage of the situation and bumped up rice prices by $5 received a legal notice! All the malls, bars and restaurants, theaters are closed. 24 hours stores now operate only for 12 hours. Social distancing is also being practiced by everyone sincerely.

-Inputs from Ramprasad Karath

9. Baltimore, USA
Under control here, Working remotely and staying indoors
Baltimore waterfront from my 2019 trip
10. Salt Lake City, Utah
The people of Salt Lake City started hearing about closures and state of emergency since March 12. On that day several schools started to close and from March 13, most non-essential government services closed to patrons, though employees were to report to work. Schools and colleges across the state are moving to online formats. I think most schools are closed by now (March 21). Typically this is the time of the year schools and colleges have spring break as the weather is warmer. But, since March 16 (Monday), when the Utah government closed all other non-essential businesses like restaurants (some are open for pick up and delivery only- no dine in), barbershops, malls, and other businesses, people are taking heed and staying in. All sporting and public events have been cancelled, as well.

We live right in downtown and see very few people walking around. It is pretty much like a ghost town. Especially with the weather being so nice, after the long, cold winter, you’d see loads of people walking around. But, most people are staying in. I am happy for that. As of March 20, 112 cases have been reported in the state. There are many national parks in Utah. While they have not officially closed, the visitor centers and toll booths are closed, and they are taking measures to limit the traffic. One particular town, Moab, the gateway to Arches and Canyonlands National Park announced on March 10 that hotels would close to anyone not from one of three neighboring counties. No new reservations would be taken, and campgrounds would also be closed. In another part of Utah, they recommended people not travel outside of a tori-county area. We have surely seen panic buying, but the stores are getting restocked and the employees and customers are still being polite and friendly with each other, even making light jokes about the situation.

On top of this, on March 11 at 7 am we woke up to a 5.7 earthquake with the epicenter 10 miles west of Salt Lake City. Even with that added stress, people were still friendly and helpful with each other. I hope it stays this way and we can remain a friendly and helpful community.

-Inputs from Jennifer Kumar

---------------------------- Updates from Europe --------------------
11. Copenhagen, Denmark
We are lock down for last 10 days...around 1200 cases so far reported n 6 death here. But after lock-down it's very slow..

Only super market and medical shops only open..rest all closed till mar end..I think they will extend till April mid

12. Heilbronn, Germany
Cases are increasing drastically day by day We are working from home and have isolated ourselves. We are rarely going out. However we do see people outside sitting in cafes and parks when we do. There is no major curfew announced as of now.

13. Cardiff, UK
Situation is a bit grim, those who have groceries for a few weeks are relatively well off. Supermarkets run out of stock within an hour or two of opening. No lock-down yet, but school, offices all closed.

14. Orebro, Sweden

Small Towns like Orebro where I live, people are not following any practices
Stockholm most affected 500 plus, Groceries are over..we can see empty stores
Masks and Hand Sanitizers are over everywhere
Work from Home by most of the companies

-Inputs from Abhimanyu Gujjar

15. West Midlands, UK
Things are running as usual mostly office are working from home. Most Indian immigrants are showing off. Supermarkets are working and they have things available. Only things not available is Sanitizer, handwash and Toilet paper.

-Inputs from Nehra Jee

16. Kelsterbach (close to Frankfurt) Germany
After the month of January, the whole world took a stop to look at the health and lives of hundreds.
It seems to be getting into a stop for an overhaul. Well, whatever it is, we will see at the other end of it. Hope, there is hope left at the other end of the tunnel and we all sail through the darkness and see the light at the end of it.
Having said, that here in Germany things are quite different from the homeland. There is no complete lockdown as in India and it is a rather self-imposed regulation kind, along with Government intervention.
Here too there is social-distancing and people are advised to stay at home and work from home.
The term Work from Home (WFH) is alien to many here except for the IT companies who are well versed with these terms. So, Modern Technological terms are becoming a reality, WFH, Virtual Classrooms, Online Classes, and many others.
My husband is finding it really difficult doing WFH. He complains as to this isn’t how we work?
I am telling him; nobody wants to know how you feel? It is just the need of the hour, so get used to it.
Having said all this? How is it for others? Well, looks like li has been put to a standstill with limitations and restrictions.
There are rules laid by the government and every citizen has to follow and the forces here are asked to remind us and abide by the rules if violated. There are penalties levied on certain kind of activities, such as gatherings, garden parties, and other group activities.
The public places are closed, such as restaurants, coffee shops, parlors, hair salons, gyms, fitness studios, and other public places, for the need of a minimum 2-meter distance between two people.  More than two people cannot go outside together.
But there are no restrictions if you want to run along in the garden or around the river or exercise there. The restriction is only not to be close to people and at a given time maintain a 2-meter distance.
The basic requirements of the people are open, such as Grocery stores, Medical shops, Postal and Courier services, and some restaurants are open for Take Away and Home Delivery, which depends on the business.
Alas! It is bright and sunny here, people have been waiting for the Sun to come out, after long winter days and it is saddening to see people stuck in their homes, with no parties, garden parties, no barbecue parties, these parties are the norm during the Spring and Summertime, when the sun shines bright and good weather conditions.
I guess, together we can sail through the tough times…!
- Inputs from Kavitha Kandaswamy
--------------------------------- Updates from Middle East------------------

16. Dubai, UAE
People are having their usual routine activities.. However in public areas, malls and other hangouts government has instructed for closure. 
Life is lot tougher for those who don't have enough savings or well paying jobs.

17. Muscat, Oman
52 cases, no deaths, taking all measures to contain
no lock down yet, might happen soon, supplies are fine for now

-------------------------------- Updates from Asia ---------------------------------------

18.  Chennai, India
From my own city, lots of precautionary measures are in place including closure of most business and services. Some private firms are still functional. No shortage of essential supplies. TN State has closed borders with Karnataka, Andhra, Kerala trying to contain the corona virus. Two weeks ago when I returned from Muscat there was screening. But of late air traffic has dropped significantly and more precautionary measures are in place. Generic perception is that we're not testing enough. Hopefully situation doesn't go out of control.

India has been relatively better off so far but will it stay that way is the big question. There's been multiple cases of people escaping quarantine, lying about travel history, taking med to avoid detection and other irresponsible behavior-impact of which will take a week or two to show up. While awareness has reached substantial level in past one week, cases continue to grow steadily.

19. Hrishikesh, India
Thanks to Mariellen Ward, a Canadian travel writer and blogger currently based in India for this detailed update from Hrishikesh in North India. Her blog is Breathedreamgo.com

I'm a Canadian expat living in Rishikesh. I've been here about a year-and-a-half, renting a flat in a quiet and peaceful residential community away from the hustle-and-bustle of Tapovan as well as the main market. Since the day after Holi, when the WHO declared a pandemic I've largely been self-isolated, except for supply runs.

At first, nothing changed in Rishikesh. Even days after the declaration, Yoga schools were still open, a local film festival was still running, and it was mostly business as usual. But since about March 17, I have noticed a shift. First the Parmarth Niketan aarti stopped. This is a very familiar nightly ritual, so it signaled a big change in attitude. 

Yesterday, the state of Uttarakhand closed its borders, so no tourists are allowed here -- which is going to make a massive difference as this is a tourist town, and indeed a tourist state. Now, people are stocking up on supplies -- I just saw my neighbor haul a huge bag of rice home -- and quite a few are wearing masks. The authorities are checking foreigners in guest houses, and a few have been sent for testing. Everything is now starting to close down, the day before the Janta Curfew of March 22. But there are still some cafes open and people gathering. Which is beyond maddening. 

Officially, it seems there are three cases in Uttarkhand, all Indian Forest Service students who had returned from study in Spain, but there are rumors of other cases, and it's hard to know who to believe. 

20. Kolkata, India

Whereas people across India are panic struck, worried and changed the way they travel/ work, things in Kolkata are not showing much change. Commuters in buses, trains and even on two wheelers were observed with masks. The masks are becoming more frequent. In Bada bazar- Kolkata's huge wholesale market and perhaps India's largest market- these surgical masks are available starting from Rs. 15. '50 ko 4 dedo' is common. The impact of corona is a little late here- the first case in entire Bengal was observed barely 4 days ago. In ID hospital Belaghata, journalists are stationed almost 24 hrs. Number of people admitted becomes news for them, since only one patient was positive. Patients likely of corona test have to first consult the OPD stationed there. My wife was referred by our institute doctor here, but was ridiculed by saying it is just a dry cough by the authorities. Institutes are closed- IIEST Shibpur declared a holiday for everyone- including staff- till 15th April. The same norms are followed by state govt run educational institutions. People are seen gathering rice, atta and essentials.

Most essentials are out of stock on online marts.
Traffic on the roads, crowd in the trains was slightly less yesterday. Several trains are cancelled citing low occupancy. Train movements are restricted within WB. Markets and malls are shut for three continuous days till Monday. This maybe extended. On the other hand, people chit-chatting in every corner are taking our PM's 'ring bell or clap in balcony' message with a pinch of salt. Whereas enidhi prefers walking, I prefer cycling. I cycled about a distance of 15 km (to+fro) and visited markets to explore the region and to get a gist of corona-proofing. Traffic is stopped- not for corona but for a religious procession. A dubious decision of the present govt. Things seem under control here, but a panic will remain until someone may incite confidence in people that the 'virus thing' is now gone.

-Inputs from Anuj Bhudkar

21 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Currently in Malaysia we are having MCO (Movement Control Order) wherein from 18th March-31st March 2020 we should not go out unless it’s important such as Buying Groceries, Pharmacies. If police see us wandering they may fine us upto 1000 RM or 6 months jail or both. We are in the Day 4 of MCO. Staying at home and most of the employees are working from home. Currently the cases in Malaysia is 1030 With 87 Recovered and 3 deaths. It’s increasing and only way to break this is everyone staying at home and I hope when the days are passed and near to 31st March we are hoping the numbers will slow down. Also during this time the affected families are those who cannot work from home (like shopping malls staffs) and also daily wage earner from low income families. Several NGOs are raising the fund from people so that they can sustain during this 14 days.

-Inputs from Sathya Narayan

22. Bali, Indonesia
People are avoiding more traffic area , Most temples closed until 29 march from now, 4 Corona virus cases in Bali, with 1 dead. Essential supplies are fine for now.

-Inputs from Yuliani Sanura

23. Mumbai, India
I can say Maharashtra has double character and that is one of the reasons why the state has maximum number of positive cases of Corona. Unlike other cities, local trains & buses can’t be halted completely and hence they are still plying & crowded albeit a bit less. There are also cases of irresponsible behavior from public. For example, when 4 students who landed here from Germany, were stamped to be home quarantined, boarded a crowded train to go home putting other passengers’ lives in danger. Till 2 days back people were flocking Juhu beach in thousands as if there’s no tomorrow. And those who can go to Goa, are still leaving. They are not taking this pandemic seriously. The govt needs to take more stringent steps to stop public, bureaucrats and celebrities to behave in this irresponsible manner.
As far as my area is concerned –
1.       Most of the societies, have stopped entry of visitors, non-essential service people e.g. presswala, newspaperwala, couriers etc. At the gate of our building, facility to wash hands with soap is arranged and people are using it. Similarly at escalators doors, sanitizer bottle is fixed for people to use before entering. We also have dedicated cleaning staff.
2.       After a week staying indoors I went out today to buy essentials such as milk, veggies etc. Stood in queue for 40 minutes to enter the shop and I found all milk products were missing! Since tomorrow is total bandh, people have started hoarding. Also things have become expensive, be it grocery or fruits/vegetables.
3.       As for medicines, I am using last cartridge of my insulin and must order a box tomorrow. I don’t think it’s going to be a problem when it comes to life saving drugs. Let us see.
4.       Today when I went outside I noticed almost 90% of people had donned masks.
5.    Things are calm here but we need more responsible behavior from people.

Mumbai VT
-Inputs and Photo from Nisha Jha

24. Hong Kong
The first case was reported around 3rd week of Jan. And immediately we were asked to work from home. Its been almost 2 months I have been working from home and most of them are. Since Hong Kong was most affected during SARS outbreak and even Covid belongs to same family, people panicked and started panic buying. And initially it was hard find masks, sanitizer or rice or any other groceries. And I have seen people queuing up for mask from midnight 12 and they used to sleep on footpath.  Because there was limited supply of mask to the medicals. And prices for mask and sanitizer and other groceries went up.

Recently number of people affected went down (graph was kind of stable). So I guess because of that people started getting back to their normal routines (started coming out). But can say kinda second wave, yesterday alone around 50 people were tested positive and today almost 20. Current number is around 275 I guess, 4 dead. And going by population density this number is really huge.

And at airport for people who are coming into Hong Kong are asked to home quarantine and are given a device which can track their location..

-Inputs from Sooraj Shetty.

25. Vijayawada, India

I had to fly to Delhi on 12th and had a trip on 14th but due to the present situation, I decided not to travel and stay at Vijayawada, as my husband had to stay back for work. Now since the situation has worsened, we have decided not to go to Delhi for now because we have elderly at home and we don't want to be the source of unwanted infection.

I am in a hotel apartment so I don't have a lot of my things here. I usually work on my laptop but even blogging is not coming easy. I am back to doodling and making illustrations. Art is my way to bust my stress in the corona times and yes, I am learning to cook because we are refraining from ordering food. 

-Inputs from Manjulika Pramod

26. Mysuru, India
 Life as usual in mysore. All schools including jnv closed. Teachers are working. People are waiting for the janata curfew f tomorrow for social distancing

-Inputs from Noorjahan Nayak

27. New Delhi, India
Most restaurants are closed, including fast food, delivery etc.
People did panic buying on the day PM Modi was to give speech on TV
All maids in our society have been given paid holiday by most residents till 31st March
Club House, Gym etc voluntarily closed
Entry of guests, outside trainers, tutors etc not permitted
Only essential staff like security, electricians on society employment are allowed
All lifts, common area santized
Some people still play in parks and RWA tries to send them back home

- Inputs from Prasad NP

Do you have an update to share from your city? Write a comment or let me know via social media channels. Will update.

Summary
From what I found out from these updates
- Those in suburbs, less popular cities are slightly better off than those in big metros
- Many cities are doing fine as of now- no extreme measures enforced- is it good or bad only time will tell.
- There is uncertainty all over. A bit of fear slowly creeping in, even among those who had put up brave face a week ago.
- None of my immediate friends/family members are tested positive. This is a consolation and I pray it stays that way.
- None of the people I've interacted with are from poorer strata of society, like those who need to work hard to earn that day's bread. Life is going to be a lot more difficult for them.
- Even for those who have stocked enough supplies for now, if supply chain is not restored within a week or two situation will get serious.

6 comments:

  1. I think first time the people of earth are together against a common enemey. Thanks a lot Shrinidhi to compile this information. God bless us all.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for compiling this list. Though we know what's the situation overall, got to know the individual views and experiences. We all must fight this common enemy.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks for the information.
    From today evening lockdown start in Assam.
    Stay safe. Take care.

    ReplyDelete

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