Yesterday I thought about some of the places we’ve been in the world and did a little research on how they are being impacted by the pandemic.
My husband Dave is picking out a pastry for his breakfast in Madrid. Bakeries are one of the few kinds of businesses that have stayed open in Spain where the death toll from the coronavirus jumped by 514 yesterday.
In Dehli, India I am visiting a shelter for street children. Yesterday Dehli was placed on a complete lockdown by the government. What will happen to the three million people who live on that city’s streets?
Dave snapped this photo just after we toured the Colosseum in Rome. The Colosseum and many other tourist attractions in Rome are closed to the public now as Italy fights the coronavirus. It is predicated Italy will lose about 30 billion euros in tourist revenue because of the pandemic. Dave taking part in an elephant show in Thailand. I read in yesterday’s New York Times that many elephants used for tourism in Thailand have just been abandoned by their owners because the coronavirus has left their businesses without clients. Owners can no longer afford to feed or care for their elephants. I am under a kiwi tree in a kiwi orchard in New Zealand. It is harvest time for kiwi right now and orchard owners have been getting out the word that they would be happy to hire people from New Zealand’s hospitality and tourism industries who have lost their jobs because of the pandemic. Normally 25% of their harvest workers are backpackers from around the world who need part-time work. The backpackers have all gone back to their home countries so there is a shortage of labourers. Dave and I stand near the harbour in Stykkishólmur, Iceland. Yesterday Iceland had 648 confirmed coronavirus cases the highest number per capita in the world. An article I read yesterday says the extensive testing and population screening in Iceland has revealed there are 40 mutations of the coronavirus in Iceland alone. Mutations make the virus more contagious but less dangerous to those who get it. We toured Croatia on bicycles. But on Saturday people were warned not to go on bike rides in Croatia after the country reported 78 new coronavirus cases in one day. Buses, trams, railways, cable cars and ferries all ceased operation. People were even discouraged from taking walks. A message from the government said only immediate family members could attend funerals and all children’s playgrounds would be closed.
On a misty morning, Dave and I stand in the rain forest in Costa Rica. A spokesperson for The Alliance of Peoples and Forests in Costa Rica says the destruction of the rain forest can encourage the emergence of diseases like the coronavirus. Loss of habitat has brought wild animals into closer contact with humans allowing diseases like COVID-19 to jump the animal-human barrier and spread through human-to-human contact.
Dave stands in front of a wall at the United Nations in New York with the verse from Isaiah 2:4 that speaks of a time when the world will not learn war anymore. On Monday, the Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres urged all warring factions in the world to lay down their weapons so everyone can join the bigger more important battle against COVID-19.
I pose beside the pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem. This is where Jesus is said to have healed a lame man. This morning The Jerusalem Post reported over 2170 cases of the virus in Israel. I know there won’t be an instant miraculous cure for the coronavirus like the one Jesus provided to the lame man. But I do think if we act on Jesus’ teachings about what it means to be a neighbour, if we obey his injunction to care for the least of those among us, and if we follow his guideline to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” we will get through this crisis and our world will be better because of it.