By Hanna Audry
Bangkok, Thailand, being one of the most visited cities in the world, is a city that never sleeps. Every single day, the streets are bustling with tourists and locals alike, enjoying Bangkok’s delicious street food, breathtaking views, and unique culture. The COVID-19 pandemic however, had a profound impact on Bangkok.
I have been living here for a little over two years, and when the quarantine period started, I saw the streets of Bangkok empty for the first time. The silence was deafening, and it made me feel like I’m in a different city.
Now, two months after the quarantine began, all of us living and working in Bangkok find ourselves adjusting to the “new normal”. The new normal here in Thailand includes checking in and out via a QR code in most places such as malls, restaurants, and supermarkets for the purposes of contact tracing in case you were in the same place as someone who tests positive for COVID-19.
Moreover, everyone is required to wear masks and use hand sanitizers before entering any establishments and transportation. Additionally, similar to other countries, social distancing is practiced everywhere you go.
I am pursuing my graduate studies while working here in Thailand, and we have been having online (Zoom) classes since March, all the exams and presentations are done online as well. This is most likely going to be the “new normal” in the next few months until we’re all sure it’s safe.
Thailand has also moved the start of the school year from May to July. This means that both teachers and students have to adapt to this massive change in education. Having access to internet, a tablet or a computer is now a necessity. With work, I am one of the lucky ones who are still paid during this pandemic, and I’m also thankful that I’m in the line of work that allows me to work from home.
Most people are back to work now, but those who can work from home are still allowed to do so. The next steps and phases of this quarantine (or its easing) will depend on the COVID-19 situation, of course. But I’m looking forward to better days, where I can finally go out without worrying about the coronavirus. ∎
Hanna Audry is an English teacher and an International Relations graduate student. She lives in Asia but her body clock is forever set to the EU timezone. Matcha lattes, true crime documentaries, and cute alpacas give her life.