“Corona Chronicles”: How do you feel in the crisis?

COVID-19 has a strong impact on our work and private life. The entire Alumniportal team works from home, social contacts are largely discontinued.

We are interested in how Germany-Alumni are doing out there: how do you experience the situation? What do you think of the global shutdown? And how are you currently? How do you spend your time in isolation? Do you have any ideas on how to get through this difficult and challenging time?

Write to us and create the “Corona Chronicles” with us:

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We are looking forward to your submissions!

March 2020


Ana Riza S. Mendoza
11 May 2020

Here in the Philippines, the total positive covid cases have reached over 10,000 with over 700 deaths and about 2,000 recoveries. Most cases are located in Metro Manila and some in the nearby regions. The implementation of the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) in the entire mainland Luzon, which started in mid-March, has brought a big change in the lives of the Filipino people. Movements were restricted, businesses closed, leisure and religious activities were prohibited, anything that will make people gather in one place. The implementation was difficult and the compliance of the people was not easily achieved, particularly in the urban areas. The government made and still working on huge efforts to support the needs of its people and saving the economy.

To date, it is a good thing that there is no and has never been a covid case in my province, Aurora. with that, the ECQ has been lifted on April 30 and we are now on General Community Quarantine (GCQ), meaning with some industries and services allowed to operate. But still, the borders from other provinces are strictly being monitored.

Since I am working for the government and our agency is a member of the Anti-Covid Task Force, I am required to report for work on a daily basis. The first few days was difficult as there were no public transport. I had to bike to and from work for about 28kms daily. The following days were easier as I was able to get a ride to and from work. For me, there was no time for isolation as I am continuously working together with the other members of my family. At work, we practice physical distancing and are very conscious on ways to prevent covid infection. The sad fact is, since we are in the tourism industry, covid has brought a large negative impact on economy. While waiting for what the "new normal" will be, we are preparing plans already on how we could bounce back and boost the tourism industry back to its life. Domestic tourism will definitely be one of them.

Ziard Caffoor
1 May 2020

Sri Lanka took early steps initially to Lock down in the Western Province including Colombo and gradually implemented it in the rest of the country from the middle of the last month. Factories , banks, offices and all schools and religious places were shut down and all schools were closed. The total curfew was lifted sporadically to allow people to buy medicines and pensions to be drawn.
The price was heavy as all economic activity has come to a standstill. But due to the untiring efforts of the health, military and state intelligence, it has paid dividends. So far only seven deaths and less than 700 positive cases and less than four thousand in quarantine of whom may have left after the observation period, I feel it has been worth it.
A plan has now been worked out to to gradually come back to normalcy.

Shafiqul Alam
16 April 2020

After wreaking havoc in different countries, the COVID-19 emerged in Bangladesh from the end of first week of March 2020. As the number of COVID-19 infected people started to rise gradually, the government has declared general holidays on March 25, 2020, to minimize nonessential movements and activities, for a week or so. Considering the likely danger and contagiousness of the pandemic, the government has extended the holidays further. Nevertheless, as a professional working in an international development cooperation agency, like other colleagues, I have switched to virtual mode, including Microsoft teams and skype, to complete the existing tasks and/or redesign activities under my purview for the post-corona Bangladesh. Of course, initially, as a father of a four-year-old son, it wasn’t so easy for me to concentrate on work at home but I am now used to the present set-up. I can now share more of my time with family.

In addition to family life and official activities, I have allocated time to write articles in news media on Covid-19, climate change, sustainable energy and other topics. And as much as we are concerned about ourselves, we also need to think about others, living around us, in this situation of exigency when solidarity is needed. In that regard, I am closely observing the situation and as an alumnus of different educational institutes, I am working with others, within our capacity, to support the disadvantaged section of the society.

While the situation is unprecedented and full of anxiety, it is imperative to work on stress management. It is also notable that, people would probably not find time like this again once the pandemic is over. Therefore, people can utilize this time on the activities that they like the most. Regarding the global shutdown, yes, it would have huge impacts in terms of economic growth, jobs and others. However, since we are yet to invent or test any suitable vaccine for the virus and it’s unlikely to happen so anytime soon, the shutdown should be lifted slowly. One thing, global communities should think about in the foreseeable future as to how they can better manage a pandemic like this and how the international cooperation may be enhanced.

Best regards,
Shafiqul Alam
Former International Climate Protection Fellow of Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, hosted at Ecologic Institute, Berlin, (January 2018-April 2019)

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