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An intimate view of the city under lockdown

Geneva's Rue du Rhône shopping district under lockdown (Photo: Nicolas Nova)

“The children aren’t strong on social distancing. The adults, across garden fences, have celebrated one birthday, one retirement, one discharge from hospital and the memory of one much-loved cat,” writes Peter McCarey in a poetic, but also literal, exploration of Geneva under the Covid-19 lockdown of the past few weeks, from which the city is now slowly emerging. The former WHO staff member, turned-poet, dances across the sweet notes of everyday routines, mixed with the bittersweet personal choices, and the tragic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. The appearance of a new, and potentially lethal, virus was not unexpected among health experts, he observes: “In 2016, I convened a group of experts to discuss a pandemic I had invented, where people were turning into various species of plant,” recalls McCarey. As one colleague often reminded him: “it’s not a matter of WHETHER there’s going to be another flu pandemic, it’s WHEN.”

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