It’s Day 33 of the lockdown in South Africa (28 April), however there is light at the end of the tunnel. Our President announced the easing of our stringent lockdown restrictions from 1 May. This means, inter alia, that 1.5 million workers will be able to return to work and many more items can be purchased apart from essential goods, including food deliveries. However, we are still under curfew between 8pm and 5am, and schools are not re-opening yet.
If you haven’t read it yet, then see Part 1 of Lockdown around the world. In this post, I chat to travellers from Mexico, London, Washington, New Zealand, India and Vietnam.
For the past 1.5 months in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, my husband and I have practiced social distancing. It’s been strange to experience since we’re used to seeing the streets and main tourist attractions crowded with motorbikes but it’s been quiet. Everything in the city was shut down from schools, restaurants, local parks, gyms, and shopping malls. Even taxis and ride-hailing services were suspended for a couple of weeks.
Since we like to stay active and take weekend trips to off the beaten track destinations in Vietnam, social distancing has been a challenge. We stay in our apartment and only go outside when necessary, such as to buy groceries. Everyone must wear a mask, get their temperature checked, use antibacterial hand gel before entering a building, and stay 2 meters away from each other.
We’re lucky that we can work from home and still have access to food deliveries as we don’t cook much. Otherwise, we’ve been focusing on our fitness by following online workout videos and taking advantage of free online training.
As of April 24, social distancing has been lifted. There haven’t been new cases in Ho Chi Minh City in over a week. The good news is that restaurants can re-open again yet other services such as bars and beauty salons will need to wait a little longer. It’ll be interesting to see how Vietnam’s economy recovers from this pandemic in the next few months.
Jackie writes at Life Of Doing.
I am from the Philippines but I am currently living in Sayulita, Nayarit, a small beach town in the northwest of Mexico. To be honest, there was a delay in response to COVID-19 in Mexico because of the low number of cases compared to the United States and the rest of the world. Our official lockdown started on April 18, 2020 where everyone is not allowed to go out of their houses unless it's for a reason. I don't think our lockdown is as strict as other countries. I can still go out and take my dogs for a run. Beaches in town are closed and the pueblo of Sayulita is also closed for outsiders. Only residents are allowed to go out and come back. I live with three rescue dogs (I rescued them here in Mexico) and this is one of the reasons I am sane during the lockdown. Caring for animals at this difficult time is good for your mental health. You can even foster even if you're not ready to adopt!
As a digital nomad for 10 years, I am used to this kind of setting. It doesn't bother me. I also have a big yard at my house where I can do physical activities and play with my dogs. What I miss the most is going to the beach. My dogs love the beach and I do too - it's the luxury of living in a beach town but now, all the beaches are closed. I guess there's a silver lining to this - because of the lockdown, mother nature is able to heal and regenerate. Even if we are on lockdown now, this thought makes me happy.
Trisha writes at P.S. I'm On My Way: travel, life, and dreams
Hi from New Zealand's West Coast where we are in lockdown as of the last four weeks. We are not allowed to leave our home except to access essential services such as supermarkets & pharmacies or to exercise in our local area. However, we are happy living in a basic cabin in our bush camp in the remotest part of New Zealand.
Life without mod cons or takeaways is manageable. What we do miss are warm weather and our family. Before the lockdown, we were about to visit family in Australia. The plan was to continue onto Thailand. We have now cancelled all overseas travel for the next four months.
The good news is, we have 'flattened the curve!' We are full of hope, and will soon be able to start travelling around the country. This is the thing we miss most - getting in the car and going on an impromptu road trip!
We feel lucky, safe and healthy. And we find motivation through our blog and our most recent post about In-Home Staycation ideas has kept us inspired. For the moment though, the only travel we are doing is going to the supermarket!
Oli writes at Travel Bugs World.
In the UK, we are only allowed to go outside for essential reasons such as groceries, and we can go for a walk for 1 hour every day. I live with my partner and have been adjusting to these new conditions quite well. Healthy homemade meals and self-blended smoothies have been replacing our usual delivered food, and while I miss seeing my friends, I'm enjoying being locked inside for the most part - it has done wonders to my productivity!
As a travel blogger, I used to have trouble getting my daily "desk-work" tasks done as I'd often get distracted. But nowadays, with my partner working in the same room as me, there's a lot more accountability and I've managed to cross off a ton of blog-related tasks from my to-do list! Of course, I miss traveling. I was supposed to be in Kazakhstan next month and just got the call the other day that my flight was cancelled. Financially speaking, it's a tough time for me because my profession relies on travel. But I'm keeping my head up and hoping that once things get back to normal, I'll be better prepared to tackle things thanks to my current stream of indoor productivity!
Jiayi writes at The Diary of a Nomad
We live in Washington State (not to be confused with Washington DC where the White House is 😊).. The first case in the USA was confirmed in Seattle- Washington, quite scary to think that it all started in the US in the same state we live in!
Since then there has been a series of measures implemented. Each State within the US has different measures in place as prescribed by their respective governors.
In Washington we are currently in week 5 of an official stay home order, however self-isolation and social distancing for many, commenced before this.
Like most other countries we are allowed out for essentials. Some restaurants are still operating on either a delivery or take out basis.
Schools are closed and are to remain closed for the remainder of the school year, which ends in June over here. Most employees of corporations that can work from home are doing so. The biggest perk is that we are allowed out for exercise- whether it be a walk, run or bike ride. The fresh air does wonders in keeping the spirit up.
Social and economic impact is prevalent like everywhere else in the world- increased unemployment, crime, homelessness, hunger, closure of small businesses. Our stay home order (less harsh than the word lockdown) is due to end on 4 May. Not sure if it will get extended at this point. My fear is that people may just go rogue if it does. Only time will tell. Till then, we stay home, we stay safe and we pray for the world!
I am Ketki and I live in the city of Ahmedabad in western India.
Fighting 42 degrees centigrade without ice-cream or any cold drinks is difficult. It is not that they are not available, but none of us wants to take a risk of getting a sore throat and inviting COVID-19 trouble. In my city, all the essentials items are easily available – in grocery stores, malls and even by home delivery. Confectionary items are out of stock after a month, but production seems to have started again so hopefully, they will be available soon! But my heart goes out to the police and daily labourers who are sweating it out in such heat to make sure that the citizens are safe.
I live with my husband and his parents, and things are pretty strict here. We can’t leave our area unless it’s a medical emergency. We can’t go out for morning walks or even to parks which are closed anyway. We make do with walking in the apartment premises early morning as there have been cases where police dispersed more than 3 people who were hanging around the apartments. Yes, it is so strict.
I am used to working from home so there is not much change for me. The only challenge I see is in the future is of travelling. I really cannot foresee the relaxation in travel bans and when it will happen! I miss travel and miss my time in nature and wildlife the most.
Ketki writes at Explore with Ecokats
Read Part 1 of Lockdown around the world.
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Things you must do in South Africa