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How are Expats Preparing for the Coronavirus Pandemic?

By Joshua H. Wood

Summary: We asked expats what they are doing to prepare in case the coronavirus situation deteriorates in their location to develop a sense of how expats are handling the situation and help expats share ideas and glean critical insight at a time of need.

Coronavirus Pandemic - How are Expats Preparing for the Coronavirus Pandemic?

In our recently launched coronavirus report, we asked expats what they are doing to prepare in case the coronavirus situation deteriorates in their location. The purpose of this question was not just to develop a sense of how expats are handling the situation from a helicopter view, but also to provide a venue for expats to share ideas and glean insight from one another that could prove critical at a time of need.

Please take the time to share your own experiences in our expat coronavirus report after you read the responses below:

"We have prepared as if it were hurricane season only early and can self sustain for a couple of months," wrote a British expat living in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize (Mar 25, 2020)

"I have not thought about that because I am trying to remain positive," wrote an American expat living in Lviv, Ukraine (Mar 26, 2020)

"I have medical issues, but enough medication untill the end of April. There are call centres where I will get advice. There is no panic here, At the moment I feel confident and secure," wrote a British expat living in Innsbruck, Austria (Mar 23, 2020)

"Just have enough food To bridge it out," wrote an American expat living in Bangkok, Thailand (Mar 23, 2020)

"I am trying to find other English speakers so I can communicate. I plan to prepare food and freeze it in the event I become ill. I live alone and have not yet had the opportunity to make connections here since all avenues of social exchange, including church, have been shut down," wrote an American expat living in Montevideo, Uruguay (Mar 23, 2020)

"We have done all we can in the last 10 days to prepare to stay at home. We have a lot of food and even bought a small freezer last weekend to store more food. Two of may family members have Celiac disease so we have stocked up on their bread, crackers and rice. On a normal week, I sometimes have to go to 3 stores just to find decent GF bread. So, we stocked up. We did a few final curb side pickups yesterday from our local gluten free bakery and liquor store - bought some wine and beer for the weeks ahead. And, we got gas in our car. The stay at home order started at 9pm last night," wrote an expat from living in Bernardsville, New Jersey, US (Mar 22, 2020)

"Well, I haven't started preparing anything yet. But if the government of UZ asks all foreigners to leave the country, I'll have to get rid of many personal belongings and start packing," wrote an expat from living in Tashkent, Uzbekistan (Mar 21, 2020)

"We have about 4 weeks of supplies. If the situation deteriorates we will leave the country but we are 8 hours from the capital and getting there could be difficult. I did reach out to a local doctor this week and extended our visa with immigration," wrote an American expat living in Valdivia, Chile (Mar 20, 2020)

"I fortunately have an English speaking friend who runs a market here who has offered to pick up fresh produce in town for me," wrote an American expat living in Cuenca, Ecuador (Mar 19, 2020)

"We did some shopping for groceries and prescription medications in the nearest city a few days ago to stock up on essentials," wrote an American expat living in Tola, Nicaragua (Mar 19, 2020)

"We save water bottles to boil water and place them back in the bottles. We're an eco minimalist homeschooling family- so it has a bit of its ease on us. I'm a previous classroom teacher and soup chef. I also have a back ground in medical assisting and CNA. I went to a college prep public highschool, so I learned alot more then average. Something I love about being American, I took advantage of the oppurtunities to learn. Im using all my skills. My husband is a farmer. We're putting our skills together. But prices are high for things more then before. We were supposed to move to France. That is now not possible. Yet our suit cases are still packed. Today makes 8 years of marriage for us. We are debating if we can take a chance to eat pancakes. Eggs were already 7 euro a pack. I am nervous, and my husband can't go check on his family on their farm. His mother is a nurse. She's with victims everyday 12 hours to 16 hours a day. His father is already 70. The animals on the farm need tending, but he cant take a chance. We can't do anything but pray and accept what's to come," wrote an American expat living in Martinique, Martinique (Mar 19, 2020)

"We have about a week's worth of food in the apartment and we are keeping an eye on any changes that may require us to move. So far, we are good," wrote an American expat living in Athens, Greece (Mar 19, 2020)

"I am already hunkering down. I am currently planning to stay as I'm safer here than on a plane home. It's not great. I've been ordering supplements I can take if I needed to. I think there will be food available. I know an organic farmer I can contact for veggies, and can order things online," wrote an American expat living in Bali, Indonesia (Mar 19, 2020)

"I'm going shopping soon. I've been confined for almost a week now," wrote an American expat living in Izmir, Turkey (Mar 19, 2020)

"Bought 20 water cooler sized purified water containers. Three medium trash cans and 4 five gallon buckets to store non-potable water. Two 15kg packs of rice. Long term food, about $250 worth which is a huge amount in Philippines. Went to ATM for $2000 USD in cash. Downloaded entertainment in case internet goes down. Helped a few Filipinos with cash so they can prepare a bit without work. Plenty of butane for off-grid cooking. Updated family abroad," wrote an American expat living in Pasay, Vilamor, Philippines (Mar 18, 2020)

"I have enough food to last several months," wrote an American expat living in Boquete, Panama (Mar 18, 2020)

"We are keeping 2-3 weeks of food. We have cash, full tank of gas, masks, alcohol, Listerine, Tylenol, Lysol, wipes which we keep in the car, toilet paper, extra laundry soap, and water," wrote an American expat living in Valdivia, Chile (Mar 18, 2020)

"Load on food, dry and cans. But we have over 3000 fruit trees and short crops always rotating for fresh vegetables," wrote an American expat living in Pencahue, Chile (Mar 18, 2020)

"Laying in some extra provisions, freezer is full, pantry is stocked (but I love to cook and eat so it always is). Filled prescriptions but beyond that nothing really to do," wrote an American expat living in Punta del Este, Uruguay (Mar 17, 2020)

"Resting, keeping clean, consuming fluids, watching for pneumonia, hiding under the bed," wrote an American expat living in Jinotepe, Nicaragua (Mar 17, 2020)

"Meal planning to ensure we have basics in the pantry. Setting up a regular routine for exercise outside, away from people, in the fresh air and sunshine," wrote an American expat living in Lisbon Area, Portugal (Mar 17, 2020)

"Our frig is stocked and we have plenty of non-perishables... but we have not hoarded. I'd say we have at least 2-3wks of food," wrote an American expat living in Carro, La Spezia, Italy (Mar 17, 2020)

"We have everything we need and we are staying focused and taking care of ourselves through diet and exercise so we can remain strong and help others," wrote an American expat living in Las Vegas, Nevada, US (Mar 16, 2020)

"We have stocked up on food and supplies and cash and are good for 30-45 days," wrote an American expat living in Medellin, Colombia (Mar 16, 2020)

"We are seniors and are staying at home as much as possible. We have food for at least two weeks, medicine for 90 days and have canceled any trips we had planned," wrote an American expat living in Memphis, Tennessee, US (Mar 16, 2020)

"Not much, just buying two weeks of groceries," wrote a British expat living in Bermuda (Mar 16, 2020)

"I saw it coming an already stock up on most things. I ordered many things from Walmart.com and Costco online even Boxed.com these places can handle things like toilet paper, paper towels. But ordering online you limit the number of people you come in contact with. Ordering online with grocery stores allows you to do parking lot pickup. Shop online with the phone pull up to a lane during your allotted time. One person in the store shops for you. And you simply give your lane number in the parking lot open your hatchback or trunk and sit there. An employee brings it out calls out your name and loads it in the back of your vehicle and you drive away. He didn't touch the basket, you didn't check out the credit machine keypad, you didn't have to walk through a maze of people. It's about minimizing your risk.

What I did see a small Filipino store that had tied Jasmine Rice I bought four bags or hundred pounds. I will use all of this but could help friends out that didn't think it through. The price also of the rice has gone up considerably. Still the same price at Costco but they don't have any of you have to be ready to shell out a few more dollars to protect yourself," wrote an American expat living in Washington DC Area, Md and Virginia , US (Mar 16, 2020)

Again... please take the time to share your own experiences in our expat coronavirus report!

About the Author

Joshua Wood joined Expat Exchange in 2000. Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Some of Joshua's more popular articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and 5 Best Places to Live in Spain. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

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First Published: Mar 26, 2020

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