Hugo Shaw reporting from Switzerland
I am in Year 9 and am currently living in Switzerland. Compared to the UK, Switzerland’s COVID-19 restrictions are relaxed. Currently I can go to any of the shops in my local town, but I must still wear a mask. Quarantine is only required for foreign visitors entering the country and symptomatic people. Eton has provided a wonderful online experience, which has allowed me to continue learning as if I was present. The only downside to this is that I have not been able to partake in any Science practicals!
Luke Tamada reporting from Japan
2020 was going to be a massive year for Japan — but then COVID-19 came along.
Tokyo, Japan’s capital city, was set to host the most expensive Summer Olympic Games on record last July. However, moments after the Olympic Flame reached Japanese soil for the first time in 22 years, the decision was made to postpone. Coronavirus devastated the country’s tourism industry, which was poised to welcome 40 million visitors from all over the globe.
At the beginning of this crisis, Japan seemed likely to be one of the countries worst hit by the pandemic – its proximity to China, combined with densely populated cities and an ageing society made Japan very vulnerable. However, things unfolded quite differently from what the world expected. Japan has been relatively successful at keeping Coronavirus under control. Although the government did not impose a lockdown on the scale or severity of its neighbours, Japan’s statistics reflect the number of deaths at 7 per 100,000 people, in comparison to the tragic number of 188 in the UK. The greater Tokyo area is nearing an end of the ‘non-enforceable’ state of emergency, and crowds seem to be gradually returning to the commercial areas of Tokyo. However, having lived in Tokyo my whole life, it doesn’t feel the same. It feels strange, and sad at times, to see the once jam-packed alleyways of the city eerily empty, and temples that were once visited by thousands of tourists every day restored to tranquillity.
The most rewarding part about being in Tokyo in the midst of a global pandemic, though, is seeing communities forming a strong bond, and work towards building a better society. The determination and perseverance of the citizens of Japan has been challenged by countless earthquakes, tsunamis, and bombings, yet every time, they have overcome those obstacles. Although the future is uncertain and it may take years for society to repair, I am more than certain that Japan will emerge better and stronger than ever.
Leo Tomblin reporting from Kenya
One of the most challenging things about online school in Kenya is the regular power cuts! Some last for mere minutes, whilst others can span for hours if you are particularly unlucky. As a result of this, we have learnt to keep devices charged at all times. Sometimes we use a mobile hotspot, which in similar fashion is also rather unpredictable. However, in Kenya we have fortunately avoided the lockdowns that I’ve heard so much about in the UK. This is primarily due to the fact that locking down the nation simply isn’t a realistic option here, with many people dependant on their income to provide food and fuel for their family. The choice not to impose a national lockdown doesn’t mean that COVID-19 hasn’t been taken seriously in Kenya. On the contrary, COVID certificates are now necessary to even enter or leave the country, although the $100 price for a COVID test is expensive and has led to forgeries.
Kavish Hajarnavis reporting from Dubai
Since December I have been engaging in virtual learning from Dubai, UAE, and will continue to do so for the remainder of the Lent Half. Unlike the regulations imposed in the UK over the last few months, Dubai has been relatively free of restrictions and quarantine mandates. Facemasks and temperature checks prior to entering public buildings have been the only main limitations I have witnessed since returning home. I think the experience of remote learning towards the end of the last academic year helped ease the transition at the start of this half, and the process has been fairly smooth. Even this past week, while most of my classmates have gone back to campus, remote learning has still offered plenty of interaction. One piece of advice I would give to others still learning virtually would be to make some time everyday away from devices as it is very easy to spend all day in front of a screen!