Just as I said last week, martial law has been introduced in Romania.
The second military order (🇷🇴) has been announced which says that anyone in a mandatory home quarantine who leaves their house will be arrested and taken to a government quarantine location patrolled by armed guards.
That’s the second military order. The first one (🇷🇴) now makes it illegal for groups of more than three people to walk on the street (even if you’re a family, etc). It’s also now illegal to be on the streets between 10 pm and 6 am without a pass.
Last week, some Bucharest residents were enjoying the (truly gigantic) parks and green areas of their city, and the mayor, Gabriela Firea, had a conniption fit.
I hate to tell her this, but getting outside and enjoying some nature – as long as you’re not standing too close to others – is a really great way to both improve your mental state as well as your physical health.
Meanwhile, Adriana Nica, the director of the University Emergency Hospital in Bucharest has been removed from her position (🇷🇴), supposedly due to her failure to implement proper procedures to combat the virus.
And the moronic mayor of Timisoara wants all people under mandatory home quarantine to get their hands stamped (🇷🇴) with temporary ink, an idea he apparently learned on Facebook, the world’s font of wisdom.
And last, but definitely not least, the Romanian press has been irresponsibly announcing the country’s first coronavirus death (🇷🇴).
Yet when you read through it:
The patient had very serious pre-existing medical problems, including end-stage cancer.
Obviously, there is a hell of a big difference between dying of coronavirus and dying with coronavirus.
But hey, you gots to get them clicks, amirite?
As usual, shit is crazy in Ukraine.
In Cernauti, the mayor has ordered the city entirely shut down, including blocking (🇺🇦) all the entrances to the city with concrete barriers.
It is also illegal for children under age 14 in Cernauti to be outdoors without their parents. The mayor specifically said he implemented this rule so that kids don’t play football (soccer).
And shit got real in Kiev:
In the film clip above, one passenger (the guy with the white and red plastic bag) coughed, and a fellow passenger went nuts and beat the shit out of him, eventually dragging him out of the bus and onto the sidewalk.
Ukraine now has a law nationwide that buses and public transportation can only carry 10 passengers at a time. And while I can’t find the photo at the moment, I also saw that some buses in Odessa had their windows smashed by angry passengers due to the “maximum 10 occupants” rule.
People in this part of the world really depend on public transportation, and there have been massive lines (UK: queues) that have really upset people.
Republic of Moldova
On March 20, the mayor of the city of Sangerei ordered a complete lockdown (🇲🇩) after a resident, who recently returned from Britain, was confirmed to have the virus.
The woman had come home to Moldova to celebrate her birthday. She went to a beauty salon to get her hair done and then she held a massive party with at least 30 people in attendance, so she’s potentially infected quite a lot of folks.
But on March 22, the city’s quarantine was lifted (🇲🇩) by the county (raion) president.
Why? Because the mayor had neglected to file the necessary paperwork required by the brand-new emergency law, including a plan to ensure that there is enough food, cleaning supplies, etc., for the city.
The mayor fired back, saying, “Better to have a quarantine than for all of us to end up in the cemetery.”
Things remain quite calm here, and I am very, very happy to report that there have been no sensationalist or click-bait stories put out after two cases of the virus were confirmed in the republic.
In fact, the media has been doing things like encouraging people to take care of their immune system, get some exercise, go outdoors and enjoy nature, refrain from smoking and alcohol, and to laugh.
They’ve been posting plenty of memes and other silly stuff, but my favorite is this photo of a cat which looks like it’s waiting in the mandatory two-meter spacing line to get into a Sheriff supermarket:
In more serious news, after the RM exclave Varnita was sealed off yesterday, it turns out that this prevented all access to and from the Bender neighborhood “Severny” (literally “Northern”), which is under PMR control.
I’ve never been there before, but apparently, they don’t have a single ATM or pharmacy because they normally rely on going to either Varnita or Bender. Therefore, PMR authorities have requisitioned some public transportation vans (which no longer run on the weekends due to the emergency measures in place) to bring in food, medicine, and other supplies.
And the Russian parliament (Duma) announced they will be sending unspecified humanitarian supplies here. Since there’s plenty of food here, I imagine that this aid will be medicine, virus testing kits, and the like.
Tons of other European countries are also going hog wild.
Bulgaria authorized a bill two days ago to put the army in the streets. Naturally, the first place the army was sent was towns and villages with a majority Gypsy population.
In Nova Zagora, Kazanluk and Sliven, where more than 50,000 Roma live, municipal authorities have introduced checkpoints to prevent people leaving Roma neighborhoods in large groups.
“They may feel discriminated against, but there is nothing like that, and the measure is not for that purpose,” Nova Zagora Mayor Nikolai Grozev told media.
But in Asia, things simply could not be different.
Vietnam is doing absolutely great.
For many, places like Việt Nam represent a form of sanctuary compared to their homes. Posts on Facebook say how expats are feeling safer abroad than in the UK, US or Canada. The transparency with which authorities have dealt with the situation has also been praised, helping cement public trust and stop undue panic before it starts.
The reaction here has been nothing short of exemplary. As supermarkets in many countries are raided for essential supplies, shelves remain fully stocked and those in quarantined areas are helped through community efforts to supply food, water and other goods.
If you haven’t already seen the Vietnamese hand washing song, then I highly recommend that you do so immediately.
Likewise, Japan is doing surprisingly well. And a big part of that is because, just like Vietnam, the country has a robust and well-funded health care system:
Should Japan see a jump [in coronavirus cases], it may be better suited than many peers to handle the surge. It has about 13 hospital beds per 1,000 people, the highest among G7 nations and more than triple the rate for Italy, the US, UK, and Canada, according to World Bank data.
Singapore, Taiwan, and Hong Kong are all also doing spectacularly well.
France has been under martial law since 2015 (sadly, it’s true), and now severe restrictions have been put in place to forbid people from leaving their homes, etc.
But here’s an interesting map:
Paris, in case your geography is rusty, is located in central France. It is one of the most international cities in the world. So why are there more cases in northeastern France than in Paris?
I can’t say for sure. But here’s a map of air pollution in Europe (taken before the coronavirus hit):
The really bad spots are northern Italy, Madrid and Barcelona in Spain, Athens (Greece), Istanbul (Turkey), London and southeastern Britain, the southern region of Poland, and the Benelux region.
It seems pretty clear that the areas of France with the worst air pollution also have the most coronavirus cases.
Likewise, the areas of Britain with the most air pollution are also suffering the worst:
Again, just to be sure that I am crystal clear, I am not saying that air pollution either spreads or is a direct cause of the coronavirus.
What I am saying is that areas with air pollution always have more cases of respiratory illnesses, and more severe cases of respiratory illnesses, the coronavirus seemingly included.
The Balcony Scene
On a personal note, I seem to be feeling much better, mentally.
I’ve noticed wild swings of mood lately ranging from depression and despair to optimism and positivity. Normally, I’m a pretty stable kind of person, so it’s been kinda weird seeing just how much my state of mind has fluctuated during this period of infinite surrealness.
Back in 2019, when my wife and I were thinking of moving to Tiraspol, we spent a lot of time looking for the right place to live. Ultimately, we chose a really cozy house next to a park. It wasn’t super big, but it did have two stories (an upstairs and downstairs) and a really nice kitchen.
But just two weeks after we moved in, a big problem developed with the “roof,” so we were forced to find somewhere else to live. That’s when we moved into the apartment we’re living in now.
It’s not a house, but a “bloc”, but there are only two neighbors. This place is right in the heart of downtown, and it has a lovely balcony facing the main street (called October 25th). Our first house, although lovely, had a tiny garden but no balcony.
I’ve been enjoying that balcony since the first moment we got here, but it’s become a real lifesaver these days. Since we’re indoors some 22 hours a day, just having a bit of fresh air on my face and seeing other people, even if I’m not talking to them, really makes a difference.
Likewise, I highly recommend participating in some live, online video chats, not just with your friends and family but group events like church services, yoga classes, workshops, conferences, etc.
Psychologically, just “hanging out” with people is really good for mental health, and video chats feel pretty similar to the real thing.
Most people are social creatures, so “getting out”, even if it’s virtually, is really important in these crazy days.
On a side note, if someone figures out how to open an online bar where you can have a nice drink and talk to folks, they’re gonna be rich ;)
UPDATE: Of course, Russians already figured out how to do this LOL
Until next time…