Spain is the second most affected country in the world after the United States, with 184,948 cases as of Friday afternoon, and 19,315 deaths.
Close to 900,000 people became unemployed in Spain in the month of March since the country’s lockdown began, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Angie Mares from Marbella lost her job in guest services at a boutique hotel after the pandemic caused her workplace to close.
“I thought I had the perfect job and that I was going to be working there for a long time… now that changed for me,” she said.
Despite being made unemployed due to COVID-19, Ms. Mares told the Sarajevo Times that the lockdown has made her appreciate life in a deeper way.
“The good thing is that I have the opportunity to realize that life is one, and I need to think more about myself, my family and my future…not in an economic way, but in a happy way of living.”
The former hotel employee said lockdown has also prompted her to be more conscious of food and the environment.
“I’m changing my diet,” she said, “I realize how many things are bad for us and for the planet…how much harm we are doing to this beautiful place we live in.
“I’m not sure yet how or when I’m going to be 100 percent vegan but I’m starting now!”
Switzerland, which has 26,732 total coronavirus cases but a significantly lower number of fatalities compared to its neighboring countries, with 1,288 deaths, has been in lockdown since March 17.
Iwi from Zurich, said that although she was brought up to appreciate the simple things in life, lockdown has made her more compassionate.
“I was raised in a way to not take anything for granted and be thankful for everything,” she said.
“My grandfather used to say ‘as long as you have a home, food on your table and fresh clothes, you are a lucky person’.
“[But] I started to be more supportive than I used to be,” said Iwi, “doing groceries for neighbors that are high-risk.”
France has the third highest number of COVID-19 cases in Europe, with 165,027 cases as of Friday afternoon and 17,920 deaths.
The country has been in lockdown since March 17, and at the beginning of the week, President Emmanuel Macron announced that strict confinement will continue until May 11.
Audrey Jacquet who works in human resource management in Paris, told the Sarajevo Times that lockdown has altered her outlook on life.
“I have realised what things are important or not: family and health,” she said.
“In my ‘previous’ life, I was anxious, busy, [with] work, commuting,” she said.
“I just figured out that I forgot the essential things in human life.”
Ms. Jacquet said she believes people will change as a result of the global pandemic.
“I think everybody will think and act differently after this period,” she said.
“It’s so disrupting, so destabilizing, that people can’t just go on with their life like nothing happened.”
Several European countries have already loosened lockdown restrictions,with some returning to work in Italy, Spain and Austria, and the reopening of day care centres and primary schools in Denmark this week.
The United States has the highest number of both coronavirus confirmed cases and deaths worldwide,with 678, 210 cases and 34,641 fatalities as of this afternoon.
Written by Miya Yamanouchi for Sarajevo Times