At the moment of publishing this post there are 1,343 corona virus cases and 19 deaths in Croatia. First case of corona virus in Croatia was confirmed on 25th February. I originally wrote this post for a fellow travel blogger (check here) but I have decided to add some more personal content and to post it here on my blog as well.
I live in a seaside town in Croatia with my husband and two small children. Our life has changed dramatically and we are now practically in a complete lockdown. As everyone else in the world we heard about corona virus in China but didn’t think too much about it. After all, China is far, far away from our small country. In the meantime our small country wasn’t that far away anymore from the virus because the virus came to Italy. Oh, that’s too close! And yet the government didn’t think about closing the borders with Italy and the first confirmed corona virus patient in Croatia was a guy who returned from a trip to Milan, Italy. And then there were other people who got back from holidays/ski trips/business trips and had corona virus.
So, things happened fast from then on. Everyone who got back from abroad had to be in self-isolation for 14 days and report to a doctor. If they had severe symptoms they got tested for corona virus. Then, the government decided to cancel/postpone all events that gathered more than 1000 people, than that got reduced to a 100 people. Schools, kindergartens and universities were ordered to close for 14 days. Then, all restaurants, cafes and shops and some other businesses got closed for 30 days which meant that all education facilities were also going to be closed for longer (this is valid until 19 April, further decisions are awaited).
What is left open you might ask? Food shops, supermarkets, petrol stations and pharmacies. When everything got closed people fled to the beaches and mountains to be outside. But that was a problem again so that was banned too. For the same reason all children’s playgrounds were closed too. Public transport was cancelled, travel between cities banned, borders practically closed. You need a permit to leave your town and you can get it if you have a valid reason to go to another town e.g work. People are advised to stay at home at all times and to leave their house only to go to work and to buy food. Just to go for a walk outside is discouraged.
Croatia relies heavily on tourism and since a lot of people who work in tourism and hospitality industry already lost their jobs (and a lot of other private businesses will suffer greatly) I wonder what the economic and social consequences will be for us all. But at the moment we have to #stayathome and save lives.
Amidst all this virus threat and the rising number of corona virus patients a major earthquake (5.3) hit our capital Zagreb on 22 March. There’s one image I can’t get out of my head. Women with newborn babies standing in their robes in the streets after the earthquake because their hospital got severely damaged. One 15 year old girl died in the earthquake.
What about our little family? We are fine. We didn’t buy 10 kg of flour or the entire shelf of the toilet paper. Yes, there’s a queue to enter the shop and you can’t always find what you want but shelves get replenished. We are all at home and luckily have a garden where our toddler can let out some steam. He doesn’t seem to mind being at home so much. He can’t see his friends and he can’t go to the playgrounds. He didn’t see his grandparents for over 2 weeks. So far we went out with our kids only once, we managed to find an empty beach. Our baby girl is fine too but she can’t sleep well during the day because her brother (who was at the daycare usually at the time of her day naps) keeps waking her up. Also, she likes being in the garden and often cries when we get in the house. It’s been very sunny and warm and for me personally, it’s very hard to be just inside. I went out for a walk a couple of times by myself because I needed to get away from everyone. I practically saw no one and just had a quick walk around our neighbourhood. Yes, there are still people who go out daily and spend a lot of time outdoors but they are in minority. We are repeatedly told to stay at home, despite the allure of the spring weather. I miss my friends. I miss my travel plans. I hate this uncertainty and the inability to plan anything in my life because who knows for how long this situation will last. I also despise all those learn a new language, spring clean your home and binge watch TV series ideas popping up everywhere like we are all on some kind of prolonged holiday and now have nothing better to do with our time than to be creative and productive. You know what, some people have children and don’t have the luxury of free time ( I’m on maternity leave and my husband can’t work from home, I have no idea how on earth would we pull out working from home and taking care of our children like many people have to do). Our jobs? Who knows what will happen after all this passes. And it will pass.
Will things go back to normal? That’s the million dollars question. The lock-down measures might go on until June. At least that’s what has been implied several times in the press. But recently there’s been a talk about relaxing some of the measures depending on the number of new cases after Easter. But who knows what can happen tomorrow….
Don’t ask me anything. Don’t expect me to come out of this with some newfound wisdom. I just try to survive each day at home with a baby and a toddler and a husband and no wine.
What is the situation in your country? Has your life changed much?
Stay safe! Stay at home!