Post 3: #Coronavirus and a global perspective

Well, two perspectives: Beirut, Lebanon, and Malaga, Spain. A couple of friends and I have decided to chronicle our experience during the lockdowns, quarantines, travel bans, and other restrictions during the #COVID-19 pandemic.

More perspectives welcome – if you’re interested in sharing yours, please send a guest post!

From RJD in Beirut, Lebanon:

Monday is usually the day I replenish groceries, supplies, and so on. Then I start focusing on work and the day’s events as they unfold. Today I also will rant…

In the #Corona age and the lockdown declared in #Lebanon yesterday, instead of going grocery shopping, I had to call each store, check if they are open, what procedures they are implementing, whether they accept credit cards, and after 30 minutes, I made a plan of “action”! Now, toss and disinfect everything outside our apartment door so that when I leave, at least my mind is at ease. Am I becoming OCD? Am I being overly cautious?

The reflections that this lockdown is imposing on us are very valuable though. I am learning that our housekeeper, who is a devout churchgoer, from Eritrea, is convinced I am going mad. “It’s just a flu, for heaven’s sake,” she says. She went to church yesterday but didn’t touch anyone or anything. “Look at Eritrea, we went into lockdown and we have no cases.” “This is God’s will and come what may.” Reflect, reflect, hmmm. Nope. Yes. No…I don’t know.

The roads are still empty.

The sounds of Beirut Monday morning are non-existent.

What do I make of this and do I accept God’s will? For many here, a saying is being repeated: He whose time has come is going to go anyhow…fatalistic? Well the Lebanese are. After many centuries of lively adventures, our DNA has developed a fatalistic gene!

I think of those mad people who spent Sunday morning in masses walking on the Beirut seafront corniche yesterday. Reflect…are they out of their freaking minds? What irresponsible behavior? Then they blame the government on doing nothing. They needed fresh air. Irresponsible…

True that flus and viruses hate the outdoors and the sun, but in masses, the chance of this virus spreading is unreal. What part of lockdown did they not get? Exposing an exponential number of people to infection is a social irresponsibility…he whose time has come is going to go anyhow…

Spoke to Mim. Mim and I have been on a continuous conversation since the October 17 Revolution broke out in Lebanon. One long conversation that has touched each and every aspect of our lives. Today, she will send me a bottle of alcohol as she has a pharmacy run (as a gift instead of flowers) and I will send her two bottles of Lysol wipes!

On that note, I am mentally exhausted as more people are diagnosed today in Lebanon with a total of 109 cases. Thank goodness still only 3 fatal cases.


From @rafifj

Went grocery shopping today, with Adam. We didn’t know that we’re not allowed to travel in pairs. Now we do – we also know that only one person per household (at a time) can go to the grocery store, medical facility, or place of work. One person can take the pet for agrocery-shopping quick walk.

The police may stop you and ask for proof of your purpose for being out of your home. If you have no proof, you may be arrested. You may also be fined – up to 30,000 Euros. There were more police patrols today. Martial law is no joke, especially when the number of coronavirus cases is creeping up to 9,000.

The streets were pretty much empty, like yesterday. We did see a few homeless people. They were asking for food, not money. We brought them back some basics and vowed to bring more tomorrow.

Nearly everyone we saw – including the police and except for the homeless people – was wearing a mask and gloves. Where did they get the gloves? We finally found masks. No gloves anywhere. This is not good.

The big break in the day is clapping time, when everyone opens their windows and starts applauding. Well, a lot of people. Today there were fewer than yesterday. But it’s an act that I find beautiful, and so I will continue to applaud.

I applaud the grocery store clerks, who put up with cranky customers. I applaud the pharmacists, who have to deliver the bad news that they are out of sanitizer and masks and gloves. I applaud the truck drivers and bakers and gas station attendants. I applaud the medical personnel, who are bracing for the disaster that is coming our way.



Like it? Please share! Better yet, join us.