routine of clapping on the balcony at 8pm spreads around the world

The routine of clapping on the balcony at 8pm spreads around the world

Daily applause as thanks to those on the front lines is already a symbol in different countries; citizens around the world interact with their neighbors through music, dancing, posters, and even theater.

There is something that unites the inhabitants of Spain, Argentina, the United Kingdom, Canada, France or India: the applause from balconies and windows to those who are on the front line. The routine began during the first days of confinement in Spain, probably inspired by images from the previous week in some places in Italy. Now, the most important appointment of the day is, according to each country in the world, at eight or nine in the afternoon, at which time the applause resounds directed at health professionals, cleaners, cashiers, transporters, forces and security forces. A thank you to those who cannot stay home.

Neighbors applaud from the balconies of homes across from St Thomas Hospital in London with a banner in support of public health. More than 400,000 volunteers signed up in just 24 hours to support the British Public Health Service (NHS) in tasks for which no qualification is required. On Tuesday, Health Minister Matt Hancock appealed to 250,000 citizens, a number that was almost doubled. The overwhelming response has led the NHS to expand its goal to recruit 750,000 volunteers in total. 

Several citizens applaud from the balconies of their homes in Mumbai, India. Wednesday began the 21 days of confinement in a country where personal space is a luxury. Sharing space is a fundamental part of Indian culture, where up to three generations of the same family often live together, and millions of people gather daily to pray in their respective temples. At least 64 million people live in slums without hygienic measures or services, which worries experts much about the expansion of the coronavirus.

Sing, dance, play theater

After the accession of the 1.3 billion inhabitants of India, it is estimated that more than 20% of the world population is confined. It is not the same to be confined in a house with a garden then in a 40 m2 flat, as we already analyzed in this article. Nor is it the same to do it in a Finnish town as in cities as densely populated as Delhi or New York. But, if there is something we have in common, it is the need to interact with others. This is evidenced by the images in which people from all over the world chat with their neighbors, give concerts and even organize plays.

A woman greets with the Peronist symbol this Tuesday, March 24, from a balcony near the Plaza de Mayo, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. This year, 44 years after the last coup, the traditional march to commemorate the National Day of Remembrance for Truth and Justice was replaced by an initiative calling for white handkerchiefs to be placed on the balconies. 

Maria and her dog Pepa go out to her window every day to combat the loneliness of the isolation decreed by the coronavirus in Italy, One of the countries hardest hit by the pandemic, since it already exceeds deaths and is close to equal in cases to China, which in turn has been overtaken by infections by the United States this Friday. Maria is retired, and she is confined alone with her dog Pepa in her house in the Esquilino neighborhood, in Rome. Her son left years ago to work in Mexico, and she has no more family in the city; He spends his days talking to his neighbors out the window and learning languages.

A rainbow in a window in London, UK, this March 24. Children across the country are putting rainbows on their home windows to help keep others entertained during the outbreak, an initiative dubbed  The Rainbow Trail. The British Prime Minister, reluctant at first to adopt drastic measures, announced Monday, the mandatory confinement for the entire population. “You can only leave your home on certain justified occasions: to make essential purchases, to get to work only when you cannot do it from home, and to exercise for an hour a day alone or with family members,” he said. Boris Johnson.

Tenor Stéphane Sénéchal sings at the window for his neighbors in Paris, France, this March 21. Sénéchal sings every night since the start of the containment measures in France, the fourth European country with the most cases of coronavirus. As a precaution, the second round of the Paris municipal elections has been postponed after a historic abstention in the first round and growing criticism for its holding on March 15.

Mayka Gómez, a neighbor of the Granada town of Huétor Tájar, organizes two children’s theater sessions every day from the balcony of her house to “make quarantine more enjoyable”, according to the City Council itself. Maintaining routines, leaving room for play and physical activity or transmitting that they have an essential role in the crisis are some of the experts’ recommendations for children to overcome confinement. The closing of schools due to the coronavirus is estimated to affect 87% of the students in the world: 1,524 million in more than 160 countries, according to UNESCO.

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