France Lockdown — Day un
17 Mar 2020 — my daily ramblings from Paris
Last night the French President Emmanuel Macron announced that a lockdown will commence at 12 pm. Only essentials trips to work, grocery stores, pharmacies/doctor visits and some light workout alone will be allowed. These measures were on top of the closures of cafes and restaurants announced last Thursday by the premier. Unfortunately the sun came up on Sunday prompting people to flock parks and rivers to enjoy the good weather while the numbers of newly infected and death continues to rise in the background.
I have been in France from early February and has been seeing new cases rise on a daily basis from three digits to four digits.
Restricting movements of the people was the right approach taking leaf from the Italian experience.
This lockdown is a new experience for everyone here in France and around the world. When I spoke to my 71 year old mom who lives in Malaysia.
She said “I’ve never experienced anything like this.”
A grandmother on Facebook shared even though this is unprecedented but it forces all of us to experience the world and life in a different way.
As for me, the ideology of freedom is always fascinating against the backdrop of democracy. Do we take freedom for granted? Can it be snatched away from us in a days notice? If that happens, what will you do? What’s the price of freedom? Don’t worry we have lots of time to ponder on all of these in the coming days.
Yesterday, all of us got up bright and early, took the most durable recyclable shopping bags and headed to our morning market to get more vegetable. After getting that we went to our small Carrefour but saw a long queue outside. They were restricting the number of people inside the store. Discouraged we walked to Leader Price which suppose to open at 9am but was still close with a notice that it’ll open at 10am. On the side of the building we saw workers still unloading stocks of the day. On the next building we saw no queue outside Picard (a frozen food retailer) but we were too late. More than 95% of the freezers were empty leaving only expensive items.
We were lucky on Monday morning we went to a nearby big Carrefour to get pasta, oil and potatoes. On Sunday we got lots of vegetables at La Chapelle (Little India) as well.
Around 11am one hour before lockdown we found out that my housemate’s colleague who has two children did not manage to get anything. So we rushed back to the morning market get them some vegetables. By this time the stalls were enforcing the one metre social distancing in the queue which I appreciate. We got back home at 1150am and got ready for 12pm.
When the clock stroke 12 we took a pic on the balcony signalling a new way of living, a new dawn for humanity that will change our lives forever.
The rest of the day went by quite quickly. My usual 2pm power nap was short and uneventful. We made chicken curry with lots of potatoes, cabbage and carrot stir fry and cooked a large pot of rice. We sat on the dining table and ate quietly. The eerie silence will follow us for the rest of the lockdown I reckoned.
“Un” is one in French.