As countries turn inward to protect their own, questions about political and historical alliances arise. The viability of the European Union, which erased the notion of “borders” for many citizens of European nations, brings forth questions around who pays for the cost of the pandemic and its aftermath. Instead, the notion of travel corridors is now explored as new partnerships are formed in Europe, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand.
The beach in Spain’s Canet d’en Berenguer, a Mediterranean town located just north of Valencia, will be transformed for social distancing. Only 5,000 sunbathers will be allowed and reservations will be needed. Pere Joan Antoni Chordá, the city’s mayor call this, “Like a ‘business-class’ beach,” where a grid pattern will be used to divide the beach into square sections, each separated by two meters (six feet). The question is what happens to those who cannot afford it.
As borders tightened to help stop the spread of the virus, questions remain about what travel would mean after re-opening. Australia and New Zealand are considering a travel bubble that includes neighboring Pacific Island nations, that have been greatly impacted by the lack of tourists and that would allow the flow of migrant workers to continue.
Borders attained a new meaning as each country braced to protect and care for its own citizens. Flights were grounded, airports closed, and highways blocked among major European nations. Borders between states in the US also transformed into checkpoints to limit potential carriers of the virus from entering.
Outbreaks and diseases have been named using geographic places and cities – think Spanish flu, Ebola, Zika. Experts warn this should be avoided as not only is it misleading, it can also lead to xenophobia and racism. The coronavirus has already made people of Asian descent around the world targets of racism, keeping customers away from restaurants and Asian people from using public spaces.
Netherland’s iconic tulip fields became a messenger of hope, reminding visitors that they are missed and can visit next year.
Air pollution in Northern India has hit a 20 year low and New Delhi, one of the world’s most polluted cities, has seen the biggest drop. The drop came as India entered its fifth week of lockdown.
With little traffic in Venice’s canals and waterways, jellyfish are finding their way back.
With Florida’s beaches freed of boats and over-tourism and having less plastic, humans, and vehicles, sea turtles thrive.
With fewer cars on the roads and fewer planes in the air, Los Angeles now has some of the cleanest air in the world, enabling for blue skies and easier breathing. The question is how can we continue to protect the air we breathe as the lockdown ends.