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Coronavirus: 'Our world is coming to a complete standstill'

By KAREN A BONJOUR
March 27, 2020 16:59 IST
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'The only good thing that has come out of our current situation is that it has brought communities closer.'
NRIs describe the impact coronavirus is having on their lives.
The first in a new Rediff.com series:

IMAGE: Shoppers wearing protective face masks queue outside a Tesco supermarket as they follow social distancing rules in west London as the spread of the coronavirus disease continues in Britain, March 26, 2020. Photograph: Toby Melville/Reuters
 

Karen A Bonjour, Croydon, United Kingdom

I will say that having to write these few words, about how living through the coronavirus pandemic has affected us here in the UK, does make me sad when I think of the current state of affairs around the globe.

Our vibrant world is slowly coming to a complete standstill, devoid of any of the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Here in England, we have spent the past few weeks huddled around the television, watching the daily broadcasts by Boris Johnson our prime minister, his cabinet ministers and advisers from 10 Downing Street, hoping for good news.

Unfortunately, that has not been the case.

The British prime minister has been answering any questions that have been thrown at him during these press conferences, as best as he can, with the information available to him at the time.

I do not envy his position in having to decide when is the right time to lockdown the country and when he should enforce it with the army and police.

It seems like we are on the verge of a WWII situation, bordering on a nuclear apocalypse scenario.

The current situation is that we have been advised not to go out for 12 weeks, except to do our grocery shopping once a week, visit a pharmacy to obtain medication and to attend hospitals for blood tests and appointments.

Even though people have been told that they 'should' stay inside their homes, there are still gatherings of people in parks, some public houses, travellers on packed London underground trains and even bathers thronging to some beaches.

I believe that the prime minister will have no other option but to enforce a total shutdown of the country within days.

IMAGE: Teenagers use a skateboard in a deserted car park in Fulham, west London, March 26, 2020. Photograph: Kevin Coombs/Reuters

There have been scenes of mass panic-buying of essentials such as toilet-paper, hand sanitisers, any form of soap or household cleaner, as well as food.

Supermarkets have now set aside two hours a day for NHS (Britain's national health service) staff and the elderly to do their shopping in peace and safely.

The government has set up a special supply chain committee to ensure that the supply of food and essential products reaches the supermarkets daily and does not run out.

I'm proud to say that one of my former bosses at Nestle UK, Chris Tyas has been brought in to head up this group of professionals.

The only good thing that has come out of our current situation is that it has brought communities closer.

People are volunteering to deliver medicine and food to the elderly and handicapped.

Volunteers are even just making themselves available at the end of a telephone line to offer comfort, some doing this during a video-chat, just to stave off loneliness and boredom.

Schools have been closed now for a week.

Children have been sent home with various work schedules both in hard copy and online.

At the start of the day, we now have a young physical trainer called Joe Wicks putting children through a morning workout around the country via social media.

The children are loving it and, I believe, this young man's star will continue to rise post-coronavirus.

Wednesday, the most high-profile victim of coronavirus has been announced -- our very own Prince of Wales.

He has minor symptoms, but is now self-isolating in Scotland.

As the death toll rises and more and more cases are being announced daily, we can only hope that our wonderful medical staff can finally receive the promised ventilators and masks they need to carry out their continued care of patients.

I feel for the people who had weddings planned.

Or those who cannot arrange funerals for loved ones who have died.

On a personal note, I will be turning 50 on April 26 and have had to cancel my birthday celebrations, including a planned and paid for holiday cruise with family and friends.

Luckily, we have not lost all our money, but have been able to postpone until next year, God-willing?

All we can do is take it one day at a time and hope and pray that a cure is found for this pandemic virus.

I have faith in the scientists of the world that they will indeed do this.

It may not be today, tomorrow or even a month from now, but I believe they will succeed.

I personally will put my faith in the Lord to bring us out from the darkness into the light sooner rather than later.


Dear Reader:

Are you someone of Indian origin living through these challenging times abroad?

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KAREN A BONJOUR
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