A plea from an Australian living under coronavirus lockdown
The scenes of Australians living life as usual on packed out beaches and busy streets have one Australian ex-pat living under Spanish Coronavirus Lockdown in despair.
As I write this, we are just finishing another day of coronavirus lockdown in Spain. This is the eighth day of complete segregation in our home.
I gaze out of the window at the street below in the city of Girona, in the north-eastern region of Catalonia. The beautiful part of the city in which we live is usually bustling with kids going to school, people exercising or going to work.
Now it is empty, with the main activity being regular police patrols challenging anyone outside of their home.
The atmosphere outside is one I never thought I would encounter. It is thick with a sense of uneasiness. Lone individuals scurry to the shop for essential supplies or take the rubbish out before scurrying back inside.
These little excursions are the highlight of your day in a country where most people haven’t ventured beyond the distance between their house and the local shop for at least a week now.
Millions around the world are now in the same position in a situation unprecedented in most of our lifetimes.
I am writing this because I continue to see images in the media at home of my fellow Australians still clinging to that cherished way of life that is the envy of the world. Scenes of a packed out Bondi Beach and bustling city streets in some bizarre 'business as usual' alternate reality.
As an Australian who still adores his country, it makes me despair at what appears to be an entire country collectively sleepwalking into coronavirus oblivion.
It was only two weeks ago that the Spanish Government made the mistake of allowing marches to go ahead in Madrid. Tens of thousands took to the streets for International Women’s Day. Coronavirus fatalities were already being encountered; as they are in Australia right now.
The images of a packed out Bondi Beach look worryingly similar to that of the Madrid marches.
This evening, the death toll in Spain sits at 1,376 and climbing.
Make no mistake, Australia is not immune to what already may be unavoidable because of a lack of action on many fronts. That laid back 'she’ll be right' attitude that we all adore needs to put to one side for the foreseeable future.
Australia needs to consider that small sacrifices such as social distancing and good hygiene can still be made. If these simple acts are not made now, they risk becoming large sacrifices such as loss of life and public lockdown. For these types of sacrifices, there will be no choice.
I can only hope that a collective awakening happens in time to avoid the global disaster that is happening around you.
My mind keeps coming back to the Global Financial Crisis some twelve years ago. Australia defied the rest of the world and avoided the calamity many other countries experienced.
An impending financial crisis is the least harsh, and only one aspect of coronavirus such is its severity.
It is a calamity I fear Australia will not avoid this time around if action is not taken soon.
I just worry it may already be too late.
// CHRIS GEAL