À l’heure où nous semblons retrouver notre vie normale en France, où les restrictions s’enlèvent une à une, où les cas Covid diminuent chaque jour, où de plus en plus de personnes sont vaccinées, voyons comment se passe (et s’est passé cette crise) dans le monde autrement que par les médias. Pour cela, j’ai demandé à 16 de mes connaissances à travers le monde de me partager leur histoire, leur ressenti, leur vécu, concernant le Covid-19 dans leur pays. On verra à travers leurs témoignages que suivant le pays où l’on vit cette crise Covid à travers le monde, les choses se sont passées bien différemment. Certains sont des locaux, d’autres des expatriés, mais tous ont vécu cette crise à l’étranger et quoi de mieux que de leur donner directement la parole pour qu’ils nous en parlent ?
I remember personally at the beginning of the pandemic, people did not worry a lot about Covid-19 here in New-York because we heard it at the news but as the first measures have been taken and that restaurants, stores started to close, everyone was shocked. It was at this moment that we became aware of the reality of it. There were a lot of paranoia, stress and confusions because some measures were not very clear or did not have a lot of sense. We also have seen 2 teams : the one who believe in this virus and the one who though that the media and politicians were lying about Covid. That makes a lot of tension all year long. People were arguing about wearing a mask for example. Economically, it was a disaster ! A lot of businesses should have closed or were going into debt, such as a lot of New-Yorkers. The government financial help was long to set up so many people could not payed their rent anymore and should moved out for example. The financial help was similar to the social unemployment help in France. To go to the groceries, it was not easy neither because everybody was scared so that they were buying in large quantities. We quickly get out of stock with pasta, lentils, etc. I remember we had to spray our groceries with antibacterials. Everybody was scared to be contaminated by the virus. It was really mind-blowing, scary and real. It was difficult for everybody from a psychological point of view but it is also questioning our futur… Currently, everything is going back to normal step by step.
Brazilian authorities (presidents, governors, mayors) seemed to not care so much about it in the beginning. We never had a REAL lockdown, so we could never really control the virus. The main excuse of all authorities was “the economy must not stop” and for a while became propaganda, influencing great part of the population to not stay at home.
People started to die, but the mentality didn’t change. “Companies will close” and indeed closed, but only the small companies, the ones that really moves the Market. Some states began to plan some isolation measures, but the government didn’t help these companies. Companies closing, people losing their jobs and something had to be done to help the population go through this. No help was coming from them. The opposition started a vote at the parliament to approve an “Emergency income” for the unemployed and families that receive a certain wage.
Things got hairy and lots of people were dying every day, some governors started to do something about it, but the president and government base kept doing propaganda anti-isolation, anti-lockdown and anti-vaccines when vaccines became a reality. Now there is an investigation going on about why the government refused to buy vaccines and corruption in buying vaccines.
Brazil was already in an economic and political crisis since 2016, but I never expected someone that could run such maleficent plan so that the “economy won’t stop”, as if we were just numbers. We’ve exceeded 500.000 death just of Covid. But we’re still in Brazil, violence, hunger and other diseases are sill happening and after 18 months of this, even hating everything that’s happening, there’s a sensation of normality here because we are used to live amongst chaos.
People are being vaccinated, but in slow steps.
The government could save lives if they wanted, but the economy must not stop.
My stay in China during the COVID-19 pandemic was not a stroll in the park. At first everything went by so fast, China executed a strong response to the situation. As a foreigner and student at the same time, life was not easy. We were on lockdown for 8 months without leaving the school grounds and a mandatory 2 week quarantine in separate rooms. China’s response was understandable to stop the spreading of the virus but some measures were just unbearable. During a certain time everything was calm until the second wave, this went on for another 4 months of lockdown. But as of now starting from March 2021 everything is going as usual, everything is open, there are no cases, masks are not obligated anymore, life is peaceful.
Australia has closed its borders to non-residents from mid-march 2020. They are still closed and a 14 days quarantine in an hotel is required at the arrival (3000$). Australian people cannot leave the country without authorization. It was very hard for us and for a lot of people because the number of room in quarantine was very limited and the number of people to come in also (between 30 and 50 persons by flight, with cancelled flights and growing prices). But once you get there, life is normal. Most of the time, we count 0 Covid cases. Sometimes, there are contaminations with people in quarantine. Each state has its own measures and they can be very different, but most of them agree to close their borders and hard lockdown (sometimes for only 20 cases). A heavy price to pay (economically but also personally for a lot of people) but thanks to these express lockdowns, we can have a normal life most of the time. However, it varies a lot between states. In the Victoria, they have experienced the longer and harder lockdown of the world, and it has consequences. Otherwise, it feels like we are in another world here in Australia. No mask, no Covid!
When they have announced the first Covid cases in Madagascar, I first feel fear. I was afraid that the virus will provoke a slaughter in Madagascar, such as it did in France, Brazil or USA with millions of death everyday. But I was mostly afraid that my family can be touch by this disease and died. I was a little bit pessimist and skeptical at the beginning because I have doubts about how they deal with this disease, still unknown. Even if the government has declared a global lockdown, we had to work in-person at the office with a reduce number of people but with a growing fear while we were going out of our homes. Citizens has continued to live their daily lives because most of the people here live from day to day. They had to go out to work and earn some money to feed their family. The economical situation was getting worst. Some companies has to closed because they were bankrupt because of the lockdown.
Several traditional cures were sold to renforce the humain immune system against Covid-19 such as herbal tea or essential oil. I have tried both of these traditional cures without wondering if it could be efficient or not. We (psychologically) felt better and more confident after taking it but we do not really know if it will protect us. Anyway, thanks God, I have never been hit by Covid-19. Currently, life is going back to normal with some security measures.
For my part, I think I have rather lived well this situation. We had a lot of luck, we did not have a strict lockdown in Berlin and we could go out as we wanted without any certificate. I feel very lucky in my professional situation, working from home was already grounding in the company before the sanitary crisis. So when it has started to be compulsory, it did not really matter to me, Being an introverted person, it was just an adjustment for me. However, it was really weird to see Berlin, the city of parties, without its usual atmosphère as the clubs were closed.
Socially talking, I was able to meet 2 or 3 friends often, because for some of them it was a bit hard to fit with this new lifestyle. We had to comfort them and get entertained (by biking, cooking, puzzling, etc.). This makes me appreciate each moment I have spent with them, being more creative in some activities. The negative side was that I could not see my family since summer 2020 and I could not be with them during hard times. Besides, the measures was getting hard every week (and often it was not very clear because it was different in every Bundesland!) And news from the hospitals were very worrying. I feel resigned that I cannot plan anything for now and I have to be patient.
During this 7-8 months of light lockdown, I have rediscovered Berlin with another flavor and I kind of like it. I also find that Berliners have done their best to respect the sanitary measures and they have been very supportive with proximity shops. On the contrary, there are been (very appreciated) companies who were not very aware to apply the sanitary measures, and the citizens did not like their behavior and have called for a boycott.
Currently in Germany, the situation is on track. Hospitals are not crowded anymore, half of the population is now vaccinated but we still have to keep some habits like wearing the FFP2 mask in the public transports, stores, publics indoors or showing a negative test for visiting a museum or gathering and keep the social distancing. We are finding back our noisier and partier Berlin again but with more self-consciousness.
This pandemic have shook everyone in my country to the core. We have lost our near and dear ones and yes the lack of proper healthcare facilities in India plays a major part in it. Now they say the situation is getting under control but yes I still fear for myself and my family as we never know when the third wave knocks at our door. The vaccination process is going smooth. I myself got fully vaccinated but still due to a huge population of India it’s going to be a tedious process for the government.
The Covid-19 virus has arrived into South Africa, few weeks after France, probably due to our geographical isolation. We were lockdown very quickly in order to avoid the propagation of the virus as was the case in Italy or Spain. When I say lockdown, here it was almost jail. Our step 5 forces us to stay at home without being able to go out to do some sports. Alcohol and cigarettes sales were forbidden. This lasted almost 6 months.
In the meantime, South Africans organise themselves as they are used to do in a country where you cannot rely on the State. They have learned to produce pineapple beer in their living room, find smuggling cigarettes or vandalize alcohol shops. That was how we managed with it here. That happened while European citizens were enjoying their summer without lockdown (yes our season are reverses).
Then, when Europe has started to slowly lockdown again with the British variant, here, we started to enjoy. Our borders have been closed for several months already so we were doing well in our small land far from everything. People started to rush into travels, restaurants and bars. We must say that with the size of the country and the diversity of the landscape in South Africa, we can easily felt out of place with crossing the borders.
When the situation was going better to plan some trips in other countries, the South African variant came out from nowhere and put us as a « red country » for a lot of countries (and it is still the same now as I am writing this).
And what about now? At a time when the majority of Northern countries are vaccinated its population and reopened their borders, we are lockdowned again. Winter is started, the Delta variant has come and datas are going up. Alcohol is forbidden again and restaurants can only do take away. Vaccination campaign is going on slowly. The next few weeks are going to be stay-at-home and sad for a lot of people of the middle and lower classes who have been already affected by the former lockdowns. But as my South African friends always say : « It is what it is ».
In Indonesia, we did not have strict lockdowns. The first one has lasted one month and a half. Then, they let people leave their lives, going to work but the problem is that since March 2020, touristic visas are stopped so here we can live, work, eat at a restaurant, dance, but without tourists, people are closing their shops, bars, hotels because they cannot afford it anymore. In Bali or Gili, 90% of our economy comes from tourism. So without it, we cannot live anymore. For example, where I live, when I go out at night, we have actually 2 opened restaurants where before we used to have an hundred. So we live in paradisiac places, we can do whatever we want but we do not have money anymore.
In France, you have social unemployment help from government, here in Indonesia there is no such thing like that. People who do not work during the pandemic, do not earn money. When you have savings, just like me, you survive. But after one year and an half, it starts to be complicated even with savings. For local people, it is worst because their wages are lower, school is not free, and you can access to free care when you have a job, but now that a lot of people do not have a job anymore, they have to pay to get cured. In Europe, even if you have government helps, you do not survive because of the cost of live there. Here we do not have government helps at all, so if you do not have savings, you have nothing. In Indonesia, when there is hopelessness and misery, it is real misery. There is no government who give you money, even if it is not enough. Also something very different from Europe is that we are not afraid to see people or of the virus. It is really different of what I see from the European news. We are here for each others, we are not on our own, we are supportive and we keep our joy of live.
What keeps Indonesia alive is that there is still optimism and support. People do not died in the streets because there is always a neighbor to give a rice bowl. Nowadays, we are almost here, people cannot buy food anymore. After one year and a half and 90% of people living from tourism, imagine the situation. However, local people will never show their distress, hopelessness or agression. That is why I am very happy that I have been here during this crisis and not in Europe, because here we have humanity and solidarity values that you have lost in Europe. And this is why I choose to live here, in Indonesia. It is alive, and not sad humanly talking, but it is sad economically talking. I think there is one big thing to remember : the support between people who live here, whoever it is locals or expatriates, who are facing a global economical distress together. And it is this solidarity who is beautiful and invaluable from my point of view.
I live in Monterrey, Mexico in the northeast side of the country. The first case appear in February 2020 and we took the decision to quarantine around 2 weeks before the government gave the official order because our president wasn’t taking the virus seriously. Since then we’ve had 2.5M cases and 233k deaths but we know these numbers aren’t correct because they’re representing numbers only from public hospitals and morgues, numbers in the private sector are not considered.
Vaccination started in December 2020 only for personal of the public health sector not the private, then population in their 60’s and older followed. Today the 14% of the people (126M) is fully vaccinated. Due to the slow vaccination process in our country a lot of friends in their 30’s – 40’s have been flying to Texas, USA to get vaccinated. Mexico’s government just asked population in their 30’s to register in the official website but there is no official date. I’m still waiting but if I don’t see a progress in the following 2 moths I’ll fly to USA too.
In the UK, we had the feeling to live everything with hindsight and delay. Restrictions has taken a long time to get set up but once we where in the middle of the pandemic, we had a strict lockdown. London was empty. No more tourists could come in the country. The capital was so silent. It was really weird to come in the center and to see everything closed and nobody in the streets. Thanks to my job, I was able to be confined in the countryside. I try to do my best to limit my contact with people and I used delivery food. I was shocked at the end of the lockdown when I came back to London. And then, everything was like opened, closed, opened again, closed again, etc. Sometimes only for few days. I did not get the virus but the situation here was terrible. We had so many deaths in England. Currently, everything has reopened excepts clubs and big concert venues. We feel like the virus is not here anymore. I am very frustrated from what I heard from news about UK. They say the situation is getting worst but it is stable even if we had some news cases. Our population is 70% vaccinated. We have few deaths. We just try to get back to our normal life.
I feel very lucky to be a French citizen because British citizens have to stay in their country and cannot travel for now because of all the quarantines and tests we have to do. We are a « red » country for a lot of countries so not a lot want to welcome us.
The British Government is playing with us but I hope that will change in a month with the free movements for vaccinated people. I feel very lucky that we had a very early access to the vaccine in UK overall.
I am working from home for more than one year now. In Portugal, government has taken measures quickly enough and Portugueses people are generally following the government rules. They wear the mask and are very responsive to the sanitary measures. Such as a lot of countries in Europe, and in France, a lot of businesses and shops should have closed its door. I have noticed that a lot of foreigners, especially French people, are coming to Portugal for tourism and does not respect the sanitary measures. So that, we are now in a situation where all Covid cases are going down in Europe, except in Portugal, because of all the tourists coming in. Government has stopped movements between regions in the country, especially during the holidays. Vaccination is not compulsory for now and is being implemented gradually starting with older and more vulnerable people.
We had our first Covid case on 12 March 2020. Then, the President quickly takes measures by closing borders and lockdown the country. It was reassuring for us. We only had one lockdown who lasted few weeks in order to protect the country economy because for a lot of people that they earn in a day, it is what they are going to eat in the evening. So it was impossible to have a longer lockdown for us.
However, I have noticed a rise of market prices since the beginning of the crisis. Schools have closed for a very long time from the first Covid cases to January 2021. They were closed during nearly a year and students had to learn at home. Some of them could have passed exams in-person in June 2020. We have suffered of leisure activities because most of the places, especially for children activities, where closed during months. Religious sites have also closed during months and have now reopened. After the lockdown, bars and restaurants have reopened and hotel swimming pools too. Some public beaches were closed but we could go to private beaches. Only cinemas and clubs are still closed now.
A good point that was set up very quickly was water points to wash our hands in front of shops, restaurants or pharmacies, and hydro alcoholic gel too.
As my child was a few month old at the beginning of the pandemic, the lockdown did not bother me and I was actually fine with it because I could spend more time with my son. The only thing is that I had to reschedule my trip to France for months to visit my family. Going out was also stressful because we were afraid to get the virus, especially because here people does not wear a mask, except in administration places or malls.
Comparing to Europe, in Ghana we had much less Covid cases and deaths. We were the first country to get the vaccines (AstraZeneca and Spoutnik V) as part of Covax. Vaccination started here few months ago with our older ones and it now available for everyone. Overall, except during the first lockdown, we did not suffer a lot from the crisis here and we keep going on with our normal life.
Covid in Taiwan was very well managed during the first wave. Even if Taiwan is closed to China, the government and the citizens has succeeded to set up rules to stop the pandemic. When Covid hits, the borders was closed, visas automatically extended, schools closed for 2 weeks. At the beginning we could feel the anxiety and tension, we were a little bit paranoids, and we took this virus very seriously since the SARS in 2003. Wearing a mask was compulsory in public transports, at work or grounded places. We took the temperature before going into shops and hydro alcoholic gel was everywhere.
Taiwan is used to wear a mask, so our lives were almost normal. Indeed, this virus did not change anything to my life and I was working and seeing my friends as usual. I really felt a good support, protection and take care of each others. Group is more important than individual in Taiwan, and the Government has done its best for the well-being of its inhabitants. The quarantines were very controlled. At the beginning, they were partially compensated by the government under some conditions. People in quarantine were tracked to check if they did not go out with their phone GPS. Efficiency guaranteed! Police delivered food nicely and was very listening. It was like we were living in our bubble, disconnected to the chaos that other countries were living, because our reality was very different. Life was going on.
Now it is been a month, Covid is back in Taiwan because the government has decided to shorten the quarantine for airplane pilots. That is how the virus has entered. Anxiety, tension and paranoia are coming back. Data were going up and seems uncontrollable for the first time in one year and a half of pandemic. Quickly, the government has set up the step 2 and then step 3 with all the measures to follow. Now, wearing a mask is compulsory everywhere except at home. No more than 5 people in a house. Grocery days depend of our identity number, so that we rotate to not have crowded shops. We cannot gather, many people are working from home. I do not work anymore and some businesses, mostly languages schools, are in big trouble. A few people now use public transports and streets are empty.
Even if we do not have a lockdown, a lot of people choose to stay at home and people respect the rules for the well-being of everyone. For my part, I am fine with this pandemic here because in one month, we can see datas are going down thanks to our support and collective efforts. I do not mind to spend more time at home, and I also can go out and walk if I want. I live in collocation, so we have to be honest about our movings to not worry each others and do not take risks. But being with mates, I think it helps! Step 3 also makes me cook more at home and spend less money, and that I appreciate haha. For now, I am doing great with this situation. However, I may lost my job that is not a good news. Taiwan keeps extending foreigners visas during this crisis, that is very supportive.
« Qui vivra verra » (time will tell) ! I feel the most luckiest to live this historical moment in Taiwan. I feel safe here and I feel that they really want to help us and that we are supportive all together to do our best so that the situation get better! In a few weeks, without lockdown needed, only with respected rules. Vaccination is starting. I am very grateful for Taiwan and its good way to deal with the situation. Thank you Taiwan!
Covid-19 where I live almost seems nonexistent now. Stores have claimed to clean periodically but at most places I did not see much extra cleaning. Our government has provided us with stimulus checks in order to help us help the economy continue to move. If I am to be honest I used mine to pay debts and order a new floor for my house. Socially my life seemed pretty cut off besides my family. Now it feels like things are back to normal, I see many more people. Not a lot of people wear masks because it is no longer mandatory. They ask you to wear one unless you have your vaccinations but I am sure a lot of people don’t have them and still don’t wear a mask. Covid has taken a lot of lives, many things shut down, some even for good. This entire situation has been a stressful one for all people and the economy alike. I really wish people would have taken this more seriously and I am worried that variants will potentially make the vaccine useless and put us back in a very dangerous position.
Every state is different with different rules and regulations and not enough people have taken this seriously. On top of all that we have had a lot of protesting, demonstrating, and even an attempted coup on our government. The situation here varies daily it seems as I am sure it does everywhere else. Through all of these series of events I am positive, the lives of those around me as well as mine will never be the same as prepandemic.
We have the longest lockdown in Europe, restrictions are being gradually lifted, however indoor dining in pubs and restaurants are still not allowed. Hotels will not reopen before mid July. It has been really difficult to cope. A lot people has lot employment. The government granted to everyone living the country during the pandemic an allowance of 350 euros per week, that helped a lot. However, now, most of those receiving this welfare payment is refusing to return to work. I did not lose my job, working for a TV show is a steady job, well paid and quite reliable. My social life though, has been highly affected. I use to attend meet ups and other events. We short, this pandemic took a huge toll in the lives of everyone living in Ireland. Nearly a year of strict lockdown. Well, I have heard stories of people being admitted in the psychiatric state hospital for severe depression.
I have been vaccinated already, and the Government plan to have 98% of the adult population vaccinated by the end of the year. So, hopefully, by Christmas, life will resume to it is former splendid days
J’espère que vous avez aimé ce type d’article complètement différent de ce que j’ai l’habitude de proposer. Ça m’a demandé un gros travail de collecter tous ces témoignages et de les traduire. En tout cas, je souhaitais vraiment le faire. Je trouve ça très enrichissant de voir la diversité des profils, et les différents moyens de gérer cette crise à travers le monde. J’espère que ça t’aura plu. Et dis-moi dans les commentaires, quel(s) témoignage(s) t’a le plus marqué et pourquoi.
Merci à tous pour votre participation
Thank you everyone for your participation