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Coronavirus Updates from Expats (October 2020)

By Betsy Burlingame

Summary: Expats share updates on the Coronavirus pandemic in their areas such as Italy, Colombia, Belgium, Ecuador, Brazil and the US.

Living Overseas - Coronavirus Updates from Expats (October 2020)

Last week we launched our Coronavirus Update Report. We're asking expats a series of questions about the current situation in their areas. To submit a Coronavirus Update, click here.

Submit an Expat Coronavirus Update

COVID-19 Update from Expats

We asked expats, "What is currently happening with regard to the Coronavirus outbreak in your area?" Here's a sampling of the responses to date:

Dordogne, France (Oct 12, 2020): "While much of France, mostly large urban areas, has been experiencing an alarming rise in cases (almost 27,000 yesterday), we in the Dordogne are not. Most everyone wears a mask while out in public and always indoors, people maintain social distancing, and those of us in high-risk/vulnerable categories tend to stay home as much as possible. Every couple of weeks we may go to a favorite café for a drink or a sandwich, but always outdoors and always with masks. The weather has been foreboding, so even that is a rare treat... All in all, this seems like a safe place to be in today's world."

Daet, Philippines (Oct 8, 2020): "Our Province requires masks and when in public transport masks and face shield. The Province is controlling the spread by requiring all members from travelling into the Province to under go a two week quarantine. Several travel related COVID cases have been discovered and stopped in this manner. All stores require temp readings and logging in in case if they have to do contact tracing. Seems to be working for COVID is not spreading amongst the local population. "

Bergamo, Italy (Sep 30, 2020): "After we were the first province in the first region of the first European country to be badly hit by Covid all is now under control. Right now there is some increase in infections and deaths since the lockdown was finished and the schools, and univiersities were reopened. However we have had no surge in new infections or deaths unlike Spain, France, UK, Israel."

Tequis, Mexico (Oct 01, 2020): "I am in a small town called Tequis Mexico. a magical village 1 1/2 north of Mexico city. Most restaurants and hotels are open. The city center is busy on weekends. Most people wear masks."

Santander, Colombia (Oct 02, 2020): "Numbers are slowly starting to recede. Restrictions which started in Mid March were slow to loosen... we still have a nightly curfew here in Santander and can only shop for groceries on either odd or even numbered days. Malls are now pretty much open as well as some restaurants.. the ones that haven't gone under."

Monterrey, Mexico (Sep 30, 2020): "Restaurants and bars have reopened. Nobody seems to know what the real risk is."

Samborondon, Guayaquil , Ecuador (Sep 30, 2020): "There is no longer any curfew of car travel restrictions in Samborondon but there is in nearby Guayaquil. The COVID-190 cases and deaths in this area is steady to slowing, so the hospitals are now taking in other patients besides COVID-19."

Medellin, Colombia (Oct 01, 2020): "Colombia is still arguably in the initial phase albeit at the closing phase with approx 175 deaths per day, versus say the UK at 30, 0r 40 per day. With a possible 2nd phase to come together with the winter and flue seasons to tend with, it augurs for difficult times still to come. Overall the protective measures put in place in Colombia were similar to other nations, but generally well received and applied. All the same, the level of intensive care facilities was sorely tested. Already a poor country many of the inhabitants are destitute and suffering acutely. As a consequence, criminality has increased significantly."

San Ignacio, Belize (Oct 01, 2020): "Approx. 20% positive results from daily testing of 100 -125 people. Total of 27 deaths covid related. in the country."

Nassau, Bahamas (Sep 28, 2020): "The COVID19 positive test numbers had been decreasing a little but now they are starting to increase again. Overall numbers are not high but as a % of population we are in the top countries with most new cases."

Milan, Italy (Oct 5, 2020): "I had Covid in March, and my family of 4 safely separated and no-one else in my family got it. We feel safer here than other countries. As an American, when I read the news in Italy versus the US, feel so fortunate to be here. My kids go to private school and their safety regulations make me feel they are safe. We decided to stay a second year before the virus hit. We will decide in 8 months if we will stay longer. While we have a permesso di soggiorno, we have not left Italy. We feel safer here than other countries, and are concerned if we leave, we may have a hard time returning."

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Sep 28, 2020): "It's actually very difficult to get any information that feels even remotely reliable. I can tell you that a large portion of the people I see are masked up but having been to other areas of the city, I have to believe that a large portion of those areas have absolutely no regard for safety. I don't know if they don't believe in it or what but there is blatant disregard everywhere you look. Kind of like everywhere. From news outlets, it seems there are dips then surges in the infection rate so although I believe the hospitals are now far better able to treat the infected, it's probably good to err on the side of caution in Brazil."

Leon, Nicaragua (Sep 30, 2020): "Community uses masks about 25% in public. Buses, grocery shopping, church gatherings."

Londrina, Brazil (Sep 30, 2020): "The city of Londrina (pop. 575,000) has not been as affected as a lot of areas in Brazil. As of Sept 30, we have had 10.125 cases and 255 deaths reported. The city has gone into lockdown several times, and masks are mandated at all times when you leave the house, indoors and out. The people have accepted these restrictions and generally comply without making a big deal about it."

Austin, Texas, US (Sep 30, 2020): "All venues except bars and schools are open. Some schools have a mixture of in-class and remote teaching, others have only remote. Patronage is about 50-65 % of "normal". Vehicular traffic is reported to be at 80%."

How Expats Are Coping

We asked expats, "How are you and others handling the situation in your area?" Here's a sampling of the responses to date:

Bergamo, Italy (Sep 30, 2020): "I am 60 years old so do not desire to go to night clubs or discos etc. Essentially life here is post Covid tranquil bars and restaurants are open, there are no national travel restrictions and offices have reopened. We are all extremely social distance aware and people are protecting and distancing in particular for people with health problems or are old like me."

Kortrijk, Belgium (Oct 6, 2020): "Most people are still cautious, wearing masks in public but for all but the highest risk groups (essentially the elderly and severely ill with potential co-morbidities) there is minimal concern. Bars are open with limited capacity, schools and stores are open. I have seen most impact to smaller restaurants and specialty stores (think butcher, bakery) as it relates to permanent closures."

San Ignacio, Belize (Oct 01, 2020): "Mandatory masks, social distancing. group limits of 10 or less. Dining inside if tables apart and limited people."

Londrina, Brazil (Sep 30, 2020): "I am learning to live with the restrictions and wearing a mask has become second nature. I basically only leave the house to go to the store, pharmacy or bank. I am a widower and live alone, so lack of contact with family and friends has been difficult at times. The biggest hardship for me has been the inability to travel, something I was very much looking forward to when I moved here a little over a year ago."

Nassau, Bahamas (Sep 28, 2020): "Most people go about their regular lives. The only real exceptions are wearing a mask, we can not have social gatherings, beaches are only open until noon (this is to avoid afternoon parties) and we all have a curfew of 22:00 every night. Restaurants are also open for outdoor dining only."

Medellin, Colombia (Oct 01, 2020): "There is not much individuals can do although we have given financial support to those suffering who are within our circle of friends and family."

Leon, Nicaragua (Sep 30, 2020): "My husband and I continue to wear masks, keep distance when visiting, in public places and in taxi. Majority of others do not."

Austin, Texas, US (Sep 30, 2020): "I live in a gated community with lots of seniors, as I am. Many are still frightened of the virus. We walk the cart paths of the several golf courses on days they are closed, and many people wear masks even though it's outside and sparkly populated. Commonly a couple walking the other direction deviate their course so as to be 15 ft. or more distant."

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Sep 28, 2020): "Still staying inside most of the time and when we go out, we're masked up and avoiding enclosed areas if possible."

Other Thoughts

We asked expats, "Do you have any other thoughts you would like to share?" Here's a sampling of the responses to date:

Bergamo, Italy (Sep 30, 2020): "Italy for now have dodged the wave 2 Covid infection storm so far. In Europe it is a good country to be in, but we do not want loads of international visitors right now thanks."

Nassau, Bahamas (Sep 28, 2020): "Things are likely to change again here once they open to tourism travel again. This is unavoidable as the economy survives on tourism but of course with that comes more risk of transmission of the virus. The government is talking about opening to tourism again in October, though it remains to be seen if the big hotels will follow this schedule. BahaMar has already announced they will not reopen till they feel it is safe for the guests and employees and likely not before January."

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Sep 28, 2020): "The growth in ecommerce is absolutely astounding. I can now purchase things and receive them the next day that I used to not be able to get at all."

About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder of Expat Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Some of Betsy's more popular articles include 6 Best Places to Live in Costa Rica, 12 Things to Know Before Moving to The Dominican Republic and 7 Tips for Obtaining Residence in Italy. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

First Published: Oct 02, 2020

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