Life in lockdown: Metro Vancouver man in Spain urges Canadians to take COVID-19 threat seriously
VANCOUVER -- Metro Vancouver software engineer Duane Storey has a message for those back home in B.C. from his locked down flat in Valencia, Spain when it comes to the threat of COVID-19.
"My recommendation personally, after seeing everything here, is to try and self-isolate as soon as possible," he told CTV News Vancouver by video conference.
Storey, who spends his winters in Spain and arrived in the country in early January, has been watching Canadian news coverage on the virus and the response, including troubling images over the weekend showing groups of people gathering together near beaches in Vancouver.
“Every country thinks it’s going to be different there, and it’s not. It’s going to come. It’s relentless.”
Spain has been severely impacted by the spread of COVID-19, quickly becoming one of the most affected countries in Europe.
Spain’s health ministry said Sunday the death toll in the country stands at 1,720 as the number of infections continues to grow daily.
Forty-six million people in the country were put in to a 15-day lockdown on March 15. Over the weekend that was extended for an additional 15 days, making April 12 the soonest residents could feel a semblance of normal life again.
“Definitely being at home you feel a bit of that melancholy. There’s the anxiety that goes with the uncertainty of not being sure what the future is going to hold,” Storey said. “Nobody believes it will be done April 12”
As for life in lockdown in Spain, residents are only allowed to do three things.
“Get groceries, and it can’t be very far. We are allowed to go to pharmacy if we need a prescription filled. And if you have a dog or a pet that needs to go outside you would be allowed to walk your pet. It’s now at the state that if the police see you lingering outside they will stop you and potentially fine you. So most of the day you have to spend inside.”
He says it’s been frustrating to see images online from people in Canada not heeding the advice of experts trying to flatten the curve.
“I see Facebook updates of people walking dogs on the river all afternoon. I can’t implore enough it’s time to take this seriously,” he said.
Storey wrote a blog post outlining some of his frustrations. He believes it’s only a matter of time before Canadians end up in a similar lockdown situation.
“Get ready to be at home for awhile because unfortunately I think it’s coming,” Storey said.
There have been growing calls for a shelter-in-place style lockdowns in B.C. to keep people inside and stop the virus from spreading, but so far the province has not said if that’s something it is seriously considering – instead reiterating the necessity of maintaining physical distance from others, staying home from school and work, and washing hands frequently.