The 2020 pandemic has been a good time for me to cash in on my immigrant privilege— like the fact I can escape this island to lie around in the sun in a country with less Covid victims, and less crap food.
Or so I thought. But in fact, despite the fact that at the time of my Romanian visit two months and a bit ago, Romania only had about 3,000 Covid deaths, as opposed to the 45,000 and more that the UK had — Romanian authorities took the whole thing rather seriously. So at a time where masks were not compulsory here, you’d be harrassed to wear one everywhere there. And if arriving from certain countries, you’d be put in quarantine. But unlike here, there you’d have the police come and check in on you every day of the 14.
At one point my mother, who worked in an old people’s home, contracted the virus. It is known worldwide that old people’s homes are main infection spots, probably mainly because the virus attacks old people with depressed immune systems far more. She was worked to exhaustion there which weakened her immunity. But luckily she only had a benign version of the virus. Authorities questioned her, and it was found out she shared a household with me, who had arrived from the UK 3 weeks prior. So next thing I know, local news report that that specific infection spot was because a visitor from the UK had brought the virus. Utterly flabbergasted by the barefaced lie, I asked to talk to the administrator who knew very well that I was perfectly virus free and if it was me who carried, then how would my mom only get it 3 weeks after, and how would that explain all the other old people’s homes nationally who also had high numbers, but where I’d not been? It does illustrate the reality of fake news is that official journalism is the peak of lies.
Mom’s colleagues also had very benign cases of Covid. Yet a fire engine came round the village and collected these women to carry them to a new, state of the art hospital in a different town some 50 km away, initially for a mere 48 hours. Despite the fact all they had was a mild cough and a bit of temperature, they were kept in hospital for 2 weeks. They all preferred to be at home, in their own gardens, in the sun. They were told they’d be kept under observation. meanwhile, the radio and TV pumped up scare stories of hospitals full to the brim of dying patients, with horrible complications… “we have to make difficult live or die choices, we’re simply running out of hospital beds”. Doctors said weeping on TV. Then they should have asked those doctors keeping those nearly healthy ladies with a mild cough to liberate the hospital beds for more severe cases, no?… you’d think.
Something fishy in the official narrative for sure. the strangeness slightly offset by a tad of hilarity on one of police’s daily patrol by our house. The car stopped stealthily by the gate at 12pm, mother lounging in the yard with a cocktail and a sun hat.
— Madame, we have you down as two people at this address… where is the other?!
— Ah my daughter just taking a shower.
— really… shower, AT THIS TIME? Says Inspector Clouseau with satisfaction that he’d caught onto something really criminal here, that wouldn’t bypass his vigilance. Nor his moustache.
— yes, officer, shower, said mother incredulously.
I hear the whole exchange from the bathroom so I jump out in a hand towel wrapped around my torso.
— yes officer? I am here.
Clouseau has a gargling attempt disguised as coherent speech but eventually his mate elbows him back into sense and they muster a shy “have a nice day, ladies”.
And that sums up the authoritarian if puzzling law enforcement in Covid stricken Romania. Have a nice Covid winter, chaps.