Life after lockdown
The pandemic is still affecting some regions of Europe.Updated: Jul 16, 2020 14:45 IST
Many European countries, starting May, have eased their lockdown restrictions in phases. People find that after months of confinement, they can now go to shops and restaurants. Children can return to school.
“It’s been very emotional and I’m so happy I can get to see my friends and loved ones in person,” says Madrid-resident Cristina Dorda.
She recently returned to work. “I’m supposed to work from office for a week and then work from home for two weeks. I work for a French company and there are strict protocols to enter the office: every time we go inside we must switch face masks and disinfect our hands. We have to keep one seat empty between each other and we even disinfect the toilets,” she says.
“Life has changed very much,” says Rosalia Acampora from Rome in Italy, which was once the epicentre of Europe. “The good part is that we appreciate the simplest things like going out to a bar for cappuccino, but of course the fear of getting the virus is still there.”
“I have asthma, so I spent 51 days in the flat in Barcelona without being able to leave,” says British translator Nicole Fenwick who recently moved to Spain. “The first day I went outside was on the May 2, when they allowed us to go exercise.” Initially, it was highly regulated, with certain hours allotted solely to children and senior citizens. Now, things are returning to normal and on Saturday, Fenwick was able to fly back home to the UK.
A few days before she left Spain, the government made it obligatory to wear masks everywhere outside home, so for her, the change was palpable when she landed in the UK. “It was clear to me that the UK doesn’t have clue what its doing and there are no strict regulations.” While masks were compulsory on the plane, many passengers pulled them down over their chins once they landed in the UK. Authorities did not ensure that masks were worn correctly or at all.
The pandemic is still affecting some regions of Europe. “There is strategy called Hammer and Dance,” says Dr Leticia Kawano Dourado, a respiratory physician at the Hospital do Coração in Sao Paulo, Brazil. “You alternate between closing down and reopening with a focus on testing and tracing until we get a vaccine.”
The strategy, outlined by writer Tomás Pueyo, has drawn a lot attention from experts. “During the Hammer, the goal is to get R as close to zero, as fast as possible, to quench the epidemic. But once you move into the Dance, you don’t need to do that anymore. You just need your R to stay below 1.” He explains, where R means the average number of people each person with a disease goes on to infect.