Tuesday, April 21, 2020
Planning a trip? Probably not. But just in case, I checked the State Department travel advisories. For the first time in my life they have issued a level 4 advisory not to travel ANYWHERE. Instead the State Department has been busy bringing Americans home: 64,178 Americans from over fifty countries. https://www.state.gov/coronavirus/repatriation/ .
While many came home, others had reasons to stay where they were and shelter in place. I suspect it was the same with other countries as well.
And each country addresses its pandemic in its own way, depending on its culture, its economy, and the timing of the virus itself. While we in the U.S. are seeing protests against shutdown policies, some countries are locking down more firmly while others are making plans for a gradual reopening. I surveyed a number of countries online and found that, although they are in different phases of the pandemic, many decided to extend their initial shutdowns in mid-April.
- U.K.: People are required to stay at home except to shop for basic necessities and exercise once daily, gatherings are prohibited, nonessential businesses are closed. Penalties include fines or criminal charges. The initial 3-week shutdown was extended by 3 weeks on April 13. https://www.itv.com/news/calendar/2020-03-24/coronavirus-what-are-the-new-rules-and-regulations/
- Japan: On April 16, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared a nationwide state of emergency which allows governors to ask people to stay inside, but does not impose penalties. The government wants to minimize travel during the upcoming holiday called Golden Week which ends May 6. According to a recent poll, 75% of the people think the minister took too long to declare the emergency. https://news.yahoo.com/japan-waiting-golden-week-decide-102542722.html
- Argentina extended its mandatory quarantine through April 26, enforced by security officials. People must stay home except for getting basic necessities. Argentina is a major food exporter, and the health officials are concerned that their cold season is approaching. https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2020-04-10/argentinas-fernandez-extends-coronavirus-lockdown-through-april-26
- Morocco declared a public health state of emergency on March 19 which on April 18 was extended through May 20. No one can leave home without a permit. Anyone out in public must wear a mask. Schools, mosques, nonessential shops, and entertainment are closed. Police and soldiers in armored cars enforce the lockdown. Penalties include up to 3 months in jail and fines up to 1,300 dirhams ($130.00). https://news.yahoo.com/morocco-extends-coronavirus-lockdown-till-170321927.html
From Iceland to the Seychelle Islands, it would be hard to find a country that hasn’t acknowledged this pandemic and addressed it in some way. I’ll be interested to see how things have changed in the next few weeks.
Today’s Notable Headlines
“Human trials for UK coronavirus vaccine this week,” BBC.
“Coronavirus: Why are international comparisons difficult?” BBC
“Cal State Fullerton cancels in-person fall classes, will go online. Will others follow? Los Angeles Times.
Why am I doing this?
The coronavirus pandemic will be indelibly written on our memories just as the Great Depression or the Battle of Britain left their mark on past generations. It is my intention to journal the events of these days from three perspectives: as a retired medical technologist, a historian (Ph.D., 2014), and an ordinary person living through an extraordinary crisis.
You are on History’s Edge.