Sunday, March 15, 2020

Tercer Domingo de Cua..rentena

So, the whole close the borders and carry on as normal plan lasted less than 24 hours. 

Internal tourism will no longer be encouraged as replacement for the roughly 70% of foreign visitors Guatemala shut the door on yesterday. 

No more school, no more gatherings of a hundred or more and, in theory, no more Semana Santa.

Giammattei must have received new information today he’s not sharing. No way he’d have done a Saturday u-turn otherwise. 

Many will have been caught with stock they cannot now offload (guantes, guantes...) and this afternoon I watched a woman buying a shitload of sawdust from the local carpenter. 

My sympathies are starting to slot into a natural scale, with people who rent out their toilets close to the bottom, currently occupied by the restaurant known to my sister-in-law as ‘aquel del taquasin patas arriba’. 

Altogether now...

I have a pretty heavy duty protective mask I bought for shielding myself from tear gas (having returned from Chile last November a bit fucked up), which I then thought I'd give to my gardener, yet of course it subsequently occurred to me that it could come in handy here during the current pandemic...and now I'm thinking it could still end up protecting me from tear gas. There's almost bound to be a bit of civil disobedience over the cancelled Holy Week processions. I would not put it past Giammattei to send in the riot police! 

Anyone in government who’s not really into civil liberties has surely realised that this is going to be a year to tell their grandchildren about. 

Anyway, even the most humungous andas in the capital are rather conveniently capped at 99 brazos

The bells are still tolling in our village in advance of the (just cancelled) procession tomorrow. They'd usually have no trouble keeping attendees below 100. I can hear the band playing marchas solemnes outside the church right now and there’s undoubtedly an additional poignancy in the air. This really is it for 2020. 

Before his own community’s procession was cancelled, the alcalde of Jocotes appeared on the interwebs advising citizens to report anyone they see sneezing suspiciously, and all the while, as the carnitas smoke swirled around him, he was comically containing a cough. 

Meanwhile, back in the UK my cousin Sara has gone into isolation now after attending a dinner party where another guest later tested positive. 

The government's plan back in Blighty also seems to change with disconcerting rapidity. 

In a not entirely transparent manner Boris may be attempting to run a two-tier epidemic, juggling separate ‘curves’ for different age groups. All this ‘herd immunity’ gobbledegook is perhaps a cover for a cunning plan to let the virus pass more swiftly through the younger, working population who, on average, appear to present with more limited, home-treatable symptoms. 

They'd then act as a buffer to slow things down later on. It’s a high risk test case for doing things differently to the EU and the PM possibly thinks the UK has an advantage over places like Italy in terms of connections between the generations and overall social distancing tendencies, but of course this would disfavour many immigrant communities where domestic conditions can be different. 

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