So, it’s been a while – sorry about that.
Friends and family are asking how it is over here, so here’s the lowdown.
Around 5 weeks ago:
- School started preparing for online learning (we all hoped it was a nasty rumour).
- Advertising campaigns began outlining the importance of hand washing and what symptoms watch out for (particularly after travel)
- Companies started preparing for their employees to work from home.
- UAE government started to prepare us for the severity of the situation.
Around 3 weeks ago:
- Schools closed.
- Sports stopped (kids group lessons).
- Museums and attractions closed.
- Travel warnings were issued, non-essential was discouraged. The line was – if you leave, you must be prepared that might not be able to get back in and MUST be quarantined for 14 days.
- Elsie went to the doctor and was required to wear a mask. This is when we knew this was serious. Not in the case that we were going to get sick and die but that if one of us got it, we’d be sent to hospital to quarantine. I’m sure they do their best but I’m guessing these hospitals are no 5-star hotels.
Around 2 weeks ago:
- Companies started working from home.
- We began practicing social distancing, we didn’t leave the compound but would see our neighbours.
- Gyms closed.
- Kids private lessons stopped (swimming/tennis).
- All non-essential shops closed.
Around 1 week ago
- Airports in UAE stopped accepting passengers into the country.
- All companies were instructed to have their staff work from home.
- All restaurants closed to dine in.
- Parks, pools and beaches closed.
- People were encouraged to stay in their house/yard.
The govt is sanitizing the streets and common areas, we are asked to stay in our houses between 8pm and 6am. In Dubai you need a permit to leave your house between these hours (this is relatively easy to get – it’s an app that you request permission with)
We have made the decision to not leave our backyard (not even to play in the compound or go for a walk).
The numbers here continue to increase. We are at 333 (26/3/20) and have had 2 COVID-19 related deaths reported.
We have been living with these measures (in various stages of severity) for over 5 weeks. We are used to it. In the meantime, the UAE are busy providing aid and support to Iran and other nations that require assistance.
Most people are taking it quite seriously, because we know that social distancing only works if EVERYONE does it. We’re going well. We feel lucky to be here, where it seems to be under control, leadership is strong and swift action was taken. We are lucky to have a lovely backyard to hang out in and we are still hopeful that if continue to take it seriously, we will get back to a normal life soon (well, soon-ish).
In the meantime, we workout in our front yard, the kids do obstacle courses in the back yard as well as plenty of the PE videos sent home from school. Dave tries hard to work from home (and continue his Masters) and I try hard to hide from the kids.