It’s COVID-19 time!

Yoyo Chan Ying Yan (’19)

I am a music major at the Newcastle University, UK.   A few weeks before the Easter holiday, COVID-19 finally hit Britain.  With daily cases rising in three digits, the British government declared COVID-19 as an imminent threat, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the public that they would be losing their loved ones in this pandemic.  Yet, the majority still overlooked the disastrous effects of this virus at the beginning.

Panic and Anxiety

Since I could only secure a flight back home to Hong Kong a week after school closure on 20 March, I continued to live in a state of panic and anxiety while I waited for my departure.  Wearing a mask was not an option for me with the fear of racist attack, thus I avoided going out during peak hours.  Scenes of panic buying began to appear at the supermarkets nearby.  Pasta, toilet paper and even frozen meat were all sold out.  My university was quite unprepared for the sudden closure, and a precise online learning plan was not laid out until the Easter holiday.  Lectures were cancelled and replaced by lecture videos from last year.  Library resources were made accessible online, and exams methods were changed.  It was lucky that teaching was mostly finished by that time.

Fear of Border Shutdown

During my last week in Britain, reading information about airport and border closures was the source of my anxiety.  There was news claiming that the UK airport would be shut down, and there were sources saying Hong Kong’s border would be closed.  Going on a flight was also considered a high risk for getting infected.   The first step to take on the plane was disinfecting the seat.    Everyone had his mask on and most of the passengers wore protective gears.  Never had I ever attended a flight that was so quiet, without any chatter throughout.  Thirteen hours of flight time and 24 hours of waiting at the Dubai Airport for the connecting flight made it the most exhausting flight I had ever taken.  

Border check in Hong Kong was loose at that time, and I got past without having a test.  However, two days later, I was sent to the hospital for developing symptoms of COVID-19.  Fortunately, that was just a false alarm.

My dorm in March when students were fleeing home
Dubai Airport in March

Cherish every moment

Reflecting on this never-ending madness, this pandemic is a tragedy that would not be swiped away for generations.  We do not possibly know when this is going to end, but we surely understand the meaning of 'cherish every moment’ and the importance of the things we thought we own - good health and public healthcare.