It’s uncertain what the long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic will be. Every country seems to have its own plan for reopening and adjusting to “the new normal”. We asked our participants what they think the next six months have in store for their countries. The following responses were collected in mid-April, 2020.
–Eric Bednarski, Warsaw, Poland
Many people are hoping that by that the end of April the worst will be over and that the rate of new infections and deaths will begin to gradually fall. In May there is supposed to be a Polish presidential election that will take place through a postal ballot system. Nobody knows how this will go, or how many people will actually vote. A lot of people will certainly not take part in this election because of the pandemic situation.* I imagine there will be social distancing into the summer months, with a gradual easing of restrictions around how many people can be in shops, at events, in churches, etc. I think most people will be wearing face masks for at least the next 6 months.
–Conrad Rinto, Budapest, Hungary
Much like the rest of the world, it is expected that Hungary will weigh the risk of easing COVID-19 restrictions with medical capabilities and capacities. The gradual reopening of the economy (sectors and services) will be dependent on Hungary’s ability to test for the virus, limit its spread, and have essential medical space and equipment in place to treat COVID patients.
–Jesse Smeal, Rome, Italy
It’s tough to tell as things are changing on a daily basis. It seems as though social distancing and wearing masks will become a part of our daily life for quite some time.
–Adela Muchova, Prague, Czechia
This is rather unclear in many ways. The government is sending different signals and citizens are confused about possible loosening of quarantine measures. Czech Republic is one of the few countries that closed its borders not only from the outside, but also from the inside. This travel restriction was not seen only as a safety precaution, it also resembles the Cold War period when people were unable to exercise their basic human right to the freedom of movement. Some people fear this restriction can negatively affect a major value of European Union, the right to travel freely within Schengen countries. This causes unease within the public, so various initiatives challenge the government for transparent explanation and justification.
*Update: the 2020 Polish elections went ahead as planned, but resulted in a 0% voter turnout. Read more here
<< Check back tomorrow for more responses from Ukraine, Hungary, Georgia, and Russia!