Greetings fellow travelers of the globe, and if not of the globe then of cyberspace, as the globe goes into lockdown from #covid-19. Here in South Africa the President of the nation addressed the country 12 hours ago to officially declare us to be in lockdown commencing within the next 48 hours. And the lockdown will last three weeks at this stage, until 16 April. So it has arrived guys, we are all in this together now, and nobody is going anywhere.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-PwT1-xmcA President's address
Travelers may be the worst affected. Imagine being a tourist in a foreign land with an itinerary or at least a plane to catch back home, and suddenly the country is on lockdown – no one may leave the house except for emergency or food shopping. Imagine not being able to take your booked flight because the airlines are grounded. Or not being able to book a fast exit immediately. I can’t imagine it.
What does one do when you have limited cash and your accommodation at hotel or backpackers is ending and you are in lockdown? Everyone will suffer, from the business sector to the individual traveler and of course every citizen under such a lockdown. This is my first experience of this in my over 50 years. It is like war. In fact the government treat it as a war scenario, with the troops being deployed on the streets to assist in enforcing the lockdown. The world is at war with the coronavirus.
I don’t think anyone alive today has ever experienced this. Old people may feel it the worst, being most vulnerable to the virus but also not familiar with the crisis and so may be unprepared. Youth may get very restless and struggle under the total lockdown too. Now the gaming industry may come to the rescue, and may actually profit ironically, as masses take to computer gaming to pass the time. Suddenly you have all the time in the world.
From what I understand, one person per household will be able to go to the store to buy food, perhaps once a week, which means the store is open for business and those staff are not under lockdown. I’m not sure how it’s going to work logistically. This is just the beginning for us here in South Africa, and we have a day or two to get ready. I can imagine the panic buying about now at the stores in my little town, and in fact in every town. I did my buying and stocking up yesterday, and should have enough supplies to feed myself for the coming three weeks.
Of course fresh fruit and vegetables will run out soon at home and I will be reduced to cooking non-perishable items, like oats for breakfast and rice and legumes for dinner. That’s it. Having traveled and lived in India for some time, particularly under training in Vedanta philosophy as a celibate monk at a yoga ashram, I am trained to practice austerities, or at least simple living, with high thinking. So I don’t need any luxuries, just those two basic meals a day to survive.
One consolation here is that the daily power cuts that South Africa has been experiencing for the past months, is over. Power has been fully functional 24 hours a day for the past week again. No two hour scheduled cuts twice a day. It got as bad as three times a day (ie. for 6 hours) recently, but now that is all over. Either industry is using less under the slowdown, or more likely the government simply made a plan to keep the power on for the citizens under the already extreme emergency conditions. Credit to them there.
So as it appears obvious now that travel has stopped globally, and certainly in South Africa, we will all have to just “shelter in place” as they call it, wherever we find ourselves. Life may never be the same again for us on the planet, or so it seems right now. Please be safe and secure wherever you are. I will keep you updated as much as possible under the uncertainty now, here online, and will look for your updates from your side of the world too. We are all in this together and information is crucial now. Wishing you well.