Whether you speak English, French, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Chinese, Korean or Portuguese, there is a common topic that spans all countries: COVID-19. As the world comes to a standstill, economies are plummeting, people are losing loved ones, and leaders are being criticized or praised for their action or inaction in handling the Coronavirus.
Since January I have followed the outbreak, watching the numbers grow in China, and then slowly spread across the globe. For nearly two months the Coronavirus multiplied and spread across borders and began to reach new corners of the world until it finally landed in Colombia.
The First Case on March 6
On March 6th, 2020 the first case of Coronavirus was reported in Colombia. Upon the first detection of the virus government officials on a local and national level took steps to control the spread of the virus; on March 12th all cruise ship travel was banned in Colombia and all events over 50 people were banned (concerts, soccer games, political events, to name a few). Shortly after schools across Colombia were closed.
One of the questions that I began to get during this time was, “Are you going to go home?” I did feel moments of anxiety and uncertainty, not knowing when I would be able to see my family or partner but for me, there was no doubt in my mind that I would stay in Medellin. And just two weeks after its first reported case of Coronavirus, Colombia went on a national lockdown, ordering all of those with ‘non-essential’ business to be closed.
Life in Quarantine
Since March 20th we have been in quarantine in Medellin, Colombia and it feels like life has come to a standstill. My life now revolves around my little world in my apartment and my refuge where I work remotely, exercise, cook, make art and connect with family members and friends.
For these past two weeks, Medellin has felt peaceful. I have only left a handful of times and there is no sense of panic or urgency at the supermarkets. Grocery stores are stocked, lines in grocery stores are drawn on the floors encouraging people to stand at least two meters apart, and hand sanitizer is given out.
In a situation where so much is out of our control and there is so much uncertainty, the people of Colombia continue to come together, celebrate life, and cherish the time they have with their families.
As one day begins to blend into the next and time seems to lose less of its meaning, at 8 pm every night the people of Colombia stand on their balconies, and cheer in an act of solidarity and support for the medical workers, and those in other professions who are combating the virus and keeping us safe.
As there is still a long road ahead, I am proud to be in a country that has taken such swift action to contain the virus, and support its people.
How are you dealing with the pandemic in your country? Please join our online forums or comment below.
by: Erin Colton-Enberg