Published on: 31/07/2020

Total Lockdown - The Return of Phase Zero

pic1It sounds like the title of Stallone & Schwarzenegger’s new movie. But it is just the news we received last night here in Paraguay.

Over the last week or so, there have been an increase in Covid cases with the majority being in our region here in the east of the nation. So, the government has decided to put the whole region back to “phase zero” of the government's ‘intelligent quarantine’ re-opening program.

This is massively disheartening! So many people across the region/nation have been suffering since March due to the impact of this whole quarantine process. Many have lost employment and income, the commercial centre of town is like a ghost-town compared to it’s usual hustle and bustle. There is great fear of the unknown; but, also, now a growing frustration around the whole ‘virus’ thing. A number of the people we speak with either don’t understand the situation or are grasped by some strange conspiracy theory. A lot of people are growing impatient with things as they see those around them struggling to make ends meet.

The last few weeks have been a slow process of gradually re-opening after the initial ‘total lockdown’ we had in March and April. People have become accustomed to the hand washing ritual before entering buildings, being temperature checked and having hands sprayed with alcohol. Forming cues to get into places. Standing two metres apart, with some showing disapproval to those who do not maintain the two metres by masked tutting and shaking heads.

Out in the supermarket the other week, something dawned on me. There are no kids! None in the plaza playing, or going to school in their uniforms etc. It is like the market place in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. No kids, only adults. It really does not feel normal or right.

Some of the business owners we know were really struggling to rebuild and reopen, willingly incorporating lots of government regulations into their business and new processes of doing things. Things were slowly, slowly starting to get back to normal.

The Return of Phase Zero.

Well that was disheartening news. Deflating the region and frustrating many people. Plans for the coming weeks have had to be put on hold, things cancelled, costs incurred and people don’t know what is coming.

We have heard people commenting about the damage this is doing to the economy and the knock on effects it is having on families and communities. It is true that the ‘virus’ response from the government has been swift and effective, keeping the number of infections and deaths in the nation at a remarkably low figure, especially when you look at effects on surrounding nations. The Paraguay national death rate from the virus is (with some rudimentary maths) about 0.0009% of the population. You could guestimate however, that over 85% of people here in the nation have been, or are being, negatively effected through the downturn in the economy, their incomes, kids/young people’s education and other health needs not being dealt with due to quarantine restrictions.

What is needed, especially from those whom profess the assured hope of the future, is to continue being salt and light at these times.
There is a Hope. That Hope has a name. The name is Jesus.

Let us remember.

pic1

Jesse rocking the indoor-sunglasses-wearing!!

Through these hard times of quarantine, and they really are tough at times, we should hold firm, be courageous, strong and resolute. Unafraid, untroubled and not dismayed. For He is with us. Our Saviour. He has given us his peace. Not given as this world gives. We need not be anxious, but prayerfully in petition presenting our requests to our Sovereign Lord. He has not given us a spirit of fear, but power, love and of a sound mind. Let us be aware of His peace that is with us. His peace that passes all understanding. And it is that peace that will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

We hope that you are well and look forward to one day being together with our brothers and sisters in the UK, so that our joy may be complete.

Stay blessed.

The  3McDonoughs

 

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