After a few years of anticipation and overcoming some bureaucratic obstacles, I finally moved to Gdańsk with my wife on February 18, 2020. For a long time, I’d been looking forward to doing up my flat and taking walks around Gdańsk and Sopot. I also had a burning desire to breathe fresh life into my career as an English language teacher.
In February that year, it was inconceivable to me that there would be a mass outbreak of some virus in Poland. However, this pandemic was very real and very frightening …
I’m updating this post on September 11, 2023, for readability purposes. It’s going to be a rocky few minutes reading what’s below.
Coronavirus and panic buying
On March 12 and March 13, I noticed that something wasn’t quite right in my local supermarket, Carrefour. Rice, flour, pasta and potatoes were in very short supply. There was no antibacterial handwash at all. Don’t get me started on the nonsensical individuals who fill their trolleys with countless huge packs of toilet paper.
Governments the world over should have nipped panic buying in the bud right away. There must be a way to allow people to buy no more than two packs of toilet paper and one bottle of hand wash in one go. Poland is not going to run out of food and toilet paper. However, it’s the right time for hard line measures to stop people from being selfish. If people are able to maintain a distance of two metres from each other whilst standing in a queue, I’m quite sure they’ll quickly adjust to “laws against panic buying”.
Everybody is fighting their own battles
Coronavirus in Poland is affecting many different people in so many different ways. Poles and non-Poles. I’ve just read a story about a British couple stranded in Poland after Ryanair cancelled flights out of the country. To make matters worse, the chap is on blood pressure medication and his tablets will run out on March 17. They were due to return home on March 15.
Everybody is fighting their own battles – some trivial and some life-threatening. Just last Thursday, I injured my eye. Fortunately, I was able to get it checked out on Friday morning. My eye doctor told me that the clinic would send me an SMS on Monday morning to tell me when to come in for a check-up. Of course, this private clinic closed down due to coronavirus, and I didn’t hear a thing from them. The injury doesn’t seem to be too serious. I have some eye drops to see me through until the end of March. Nevertheless, I do wonder – what about all those people who are scheduled to have life-saving operations these days? It’s frightening.
The overall situation in Poland
It’s hard to say whether the Polish Government is doing a good job. It’s messages of “Zostań w domu” (“stay at home”) have had the desired effect. People are staying at home. A 10-day border lockdown came into effect at midnight on Saturday [March 14]. In my view, it should have been brought into force much earlier. Shops, museums, cinemas and so forth have understandably closed.
In recent days, I’ve been checking a website to see how many newly-infected patients there are around Poland. The figure for Gdańsk is eight – low in comparison to Łódź (31) and Warsaw (37).
It’s Tuesday – but it feels like it’s Sunday
It’s Tuesday today, but it feels like a Sunday. Not many people have gone to work judging by all the cars parked outside. Eerily, aeroplanes are no longer flying over my building.
There is silence outside. The sound of silence.