It is no longer unusual to come across Catalans in all corners of the globe. Whether for leisure, study, work, or because they have always wanted to go there, Catalans have adapted well to a globalised world where new technology has favoured international travel. The number of Catalans deciding to move to another country is increasing. Catalonia’s Institute of Statistics, IDESCAT, on January 1, 2020, said there were 331,189 Catalans living abroad, particularly in Europe (163,838), but also America (150,414), Asia (8,395), Africa (5,082) and Oceania (3,460).
We need no explanation of what life has been like under lockdown in Catalonia during the health crisis, but what has it been like for those Catalans living thousands of kilometres from home? How have they adapted to the measures taken to stop the virus? Have the restrictions been tougher than ours? How do they assess the response of the authorities in other countries and, from a distance, what do they think of the handling of the crisis back home?
We contacted over a dozen people living on the five continents who wanted to share with us their day-to-day experiences in other countries. Marçal Sanmartí explains how living in a country as sparsely populated as New Zealand has helped to limit the spread of the virus. Marc Salvadó explains that in Senegal the government has imposed a curfew and the mandatory use of masks. Jaume Llabró lives in Tokyo and he says that Japanese social norms, such as a reluctance to shake hands, have helped people adapt to the restrictions. For his part, Sergi López, in New York, points out how the epidemic has deepened social inequalities in a country where the best health care is only available to the people who can pay for it.
Matilde Mir, in Auroville, in the south of India, reflects on the shock caused by the health crisis, while Sílvia Llopart, in Gambia, reflects on the impact on a country previously hit by Ebola. In Australia, Maria Pujol highlights how hospitals there were never overwhelmed by the pandemic.
By the end of May, 213 countries and territories had been affected by the virus, with 5,925,928 people infected, 362,555 deaths, and 2,593,700 recovered from Covid-19.