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The Coronavirus Diaries: A Challenge for Everybody

The Coronavirus Diaries: A Challenge for Everybody

Wednesday November 25 2020

Gerhard Frey-Reininghaus reports from the Czech Republic, which is finding the second wave of the virus much more difficult than the first

Here in the Czech Republic we were very glad that we managed the first wave of Coronavirus in the spring this year quite well - with an early and strict lockdown.

What was especially good was a strong feeling of solidarity. The government had decided that everybody had to wear a face-mask. But they were not available to buy. So many people started to make them at home. There were many who volunteered to buy groceries for older people or to take care of their dogs. Not very many people became ill with covid-19 and only about 400 people died with the disease.

At the end of June there was a big party on Charles Bridge in Prague to celebrate the end of the tyranny of the coronavirus. How foolish this was, we know now in November.

We now have a completely different situation. For some weeks we had the worst rate of Covid-19 infection in Europe, for a short time the worst in the whole world. Now we have about half a million people who have the virus and over 7000 people have died from it.

This time we are experiencing very little solidarity and people are very nervous about the whole situation.  Many people are suffering, because they, family members, friends, neighbours or colleagues have caught the virus. The doctors, nurses and the other workers in the health and social institutions are becoming exhausted and frustrated. Shops, hotels, restaurants, which are closed, and many others, suffer from having no income. More and more people are getting depressed.

This is a challenge for everybody and especially for the government, which wanted to believe like the people, that we will manage the second wave as well as we managed the first one. And it is a challenge for all churches, which have gone mainly online again. Their social services are indeed helpful, but it is difficult to say something meaningful, which is really heard in society.

I must admit that I feel privileged because, so far, I have not really suffered in all these months of suffering for so many people. True, as an older person, I belong to the higher-risk group. So I try to be careful. But at the same time, I do not have to worry about my job or earning my living because of my pension.

For me this year has been a time to enjoy many wonderful long walks in the parks of Prague, and I have explored the part of Prague in which I live better than ever before. Corona time has become for me a more meditative quiet time. This has also been very helpful for me because, in January, my mother died at the blessed age of 96 and, in June, I had to say goodbye to my beloved wife Anna, who died at the young age of 58. Neither died in connection with the virus. Nevertheless, each is a hard loss, which hurts very much.

This year is very different from all the years before. But, at the same time, it is, as all years before, a year with many faces, providing us with many questions and challenges. But also a lot to be thankful for. How good it is that we can come with our questions, our suffering and our thanks to God!

Gerhard Frey-Reininghaus works in the ecumenical department of the Evangelical Church of the Czech Brethren

The Coronavirus Diaries: reflections from Church of Scotland partners around the world

Switzerland: An Outpouring of Solidarity and Creativity
The West Bank: A Landscape of Broken Dreams
Nepal: So Many Premature Goodbyes
Malawi: We Must Hold Each Other Close
Nigeria: A Fresh Spiritual Connectedness
Egypt: 'This Is A Time To Witness God'
Guyana: The Strength of our Connectedness
South Korea: A Harsh Reality
Zimbabwe: Convenience or a Wake-up Call?
Sri Lanka: Service is the Highest Form of Worship
USA: Testing Positive
Portugal: The Mission of the Church Has Not Changed
World Council of Churches: A New Dawn is Upon us
Hungary: Physically Distant but Close in Spirit
A German in Scotland: Something New Has Already Begun
Myanmar: We Will Overcome this Hardship
Ghana: This Too Shall Pass
Brazil: The Least We Can Do
Kenya: Caring for One Another in Christ
An Indian in Germany: A Time of Enrichment
Argentina: Time in Between
Malawi: 'My identity in Christ remains unchanged'
Jerusalem: Being Rather than Doing
Malawi: No Lockdown and an Election
Zambia: 'I will never leave you... or forsake you'
Czech Republic: The Covid Cover-up
Zambia: 'All Life is Sacred'
Israel/Palestine: 'The Air is Clear'
Nepal: 'Please Pray for Us'
Malawi: Tough Dilemmas
Italy: 'Together, We Will Get Through It'