How Covid-19 turned life upside down!

APA-Banjul (The Gambia)

In this article written exclusively for the African Press Agency, Ingram Peters Jnr, a former Gambian journalist now living in the UK captures the state of helplessness attending to the coronavirus pandemic holding the world in a vice-like grip.

By Ingram Peters Jnr

I live and work doing the proverbial graveyard shift in London but like the rest of humanity waking up in the UK capital I have some cheerless reasons to skip Easter this year. 

This time last year taking full advantage of a holiday package in Jamaica I was eating fish and sipping coconut water on that exotic Caribbean Island. 

This year, I'm praying to witness another Easter, profoundly wary of the damage coronavirus can cause any human being hapless enough to contract it.

We in London have seen whole neighbourhoods decimated by it and it is still on a deadly march, snatching lives where you least expect it.

It is no respecter of the high and mighty as Prince Charles and Prime Minister Boris Johnson found out.

These are chaotic times for the world.

In Blackwell, east London, where I have been living for a long time, suddenly things we take for granted are not there anymore - dining, travelling, clubbing, hugging, shaking hands, socialising and sneezing without trepidation.

I work in corporate security and like other industries it’s seriously affected.

Since the lockdown due to the pandemic, work has slowed down to two days a week.

The other days are spent whiling away the free hours well away from people because Covid-19 is changing the way we view ourselves, others and life in general. 

And by the way there are at least two reported deaths in Jamaica over a sneeze - yes a sneeze. 

Those poor souls who were not wearing face masks got beaten to death for simply breathing free air.

UK is now one of the worst hit by the pandemic, crossing the 10, 000 toll mark for the number of deaths from the virus. 

What is spine-tingling about this sensational crisis is that nobody knows when the pandemic will peter out or normality will return to our lives. 

Media reports are replete with mixed messages about how long all this chaos will last. 

One media house in UK reported that a vaccine could be in place by September, while another suggests there is no end in sight for the lockdown that has turned everything about life upside down. 

Now, more than ever, we need divine intervention for this is beyond the human race. 

The Old Man Upstairs must step in now.

Human being are going through the whole gamut of emotions in these trying times - the anxiety, the clammy palmed moments, the thumbing heart beats of waking up each day to self-assess oneself to be sure if no symptom of the dreaded coronavirus lurks within us. 

One cough is ok, two or more we panic. We constantly check our breathing. 

I panicked when I struggled for breath last week, forgetting that I was on one of my routine jogs to keep fit. 

It is perfectly naturally normal to be out of breath during physical exertions but given the current uncertainties we live in, people dying faster than they could be buried, we all feel we are living on borrowed times.

It feels like war time in Britain with people living each day as if it was going to be their last. 

The fear is not from dropped bombs, discharged bullets or marauding rebels on my home continent of Africa. 

It is about an airborne disease, which has taken the world in a vice-like grip, claiming over 100, 000 lives globally and still counting. 

Some 1.8 million people currently live with the virus.

And the most scary part? Some of us may be even positive for coronavirus and yet not know it. 

Such is the insidious nature of the respiratory disease that people in my native Gambia may have been tempted to believe that they possess a cloak of invincibility from the virus and were therefore untouchable. 

But five fresh cases of the virus there have taken the national total to nine, jolting many Gambians into realizing crucially that this is no longer funny at all.

Did I mention divine intervention?!

When this madness is finally over and life gets back to what we know it as, we will take a moment to say a prayer for the numerous souls the world has lost to this pandemic, the businesses shuttered, the economies that took a direct hit, the massive armies of the employed stuck at home through no fault of their own, and the brave medical practitioners, working tirelessly to save as many lives as they could ( sometimes in vain).

It is times like this which make us remember to make the best of today what tomorrow cannot guarantee. 

I had planned to spend my birthday last Tuesday at a restaurant in Kingston, Jamaica, owned by sprint king Usain Bolt. 

Coronavirus spoiled all that, prompting me to make do with okra soup and rice from a corner of my fridge in the comfort of my home. 

I couldn't take myself out if I wanted to as no restaurant were open. 

But I had to be philosophical about it. 

At least I lived to eat reheated soup and rice coronavirus-free. Thousands weren't so lucky. 

This should make anyone thank God for small mercies.


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