Budapest in the foot

Beginning on March 28, 2020, Hungary implemented a “foot ban”. Although there were 343 confirmed cases of new coronary pneumonia and 10 deaths across the country at that time, the government did not dare to relax for a small country with an underdeveloped economy and a population of less than 10 million.

The day before being “foot-free”, the day was warm and the sky was blue. I took a ceremonial walk in the old city and took a set of notices to prepare for online classes for students of Beijing Second Foreign Language College. The notice is written more humane than one. Disability supplies store leave a phone number, customers with urgent needs can make an appointment; bookstores do not forget to write a sentence on the closure notice: “We believe that during this difficult day, you can find happiness in the world of books And comfort, I think, mental health is at least as important as physical health.”

There are few people walking on the street. There are long lines outside the gates of many shops. People are two meters apart and one is in and one out. There are young people who insist on sports on Margaret Island (uninhabited green island) on the Danube River. , Biking, running, skateboarding… It is true that people say that Europeans are lazy, but their general compliance is also true. Once the “foot prohibition order” was implemented, no one walked in the streets. There were no police patrols on the street and no security guards in front of the building. The residents voluntarily carried out by relying on a notice posted outside the building door.

I live in an old building that survived from the Austro-Hungarian era. Overlooking from the sky, this is a courtyard house, each floor has a veranda facing the courtyard, so the neighborhood meets relatively frequently. Everyone can see each other from a distance and beckon and smile. When they meet in the corridor, they touch their elbows (this is a new etiquette after the outbreak of the disease). I can hear more concern than usual, but I rarely hear comments and complaints. No one knows more about the epidemic information than others.

Although they are “footed”, they can go out and buy necessities, see a doctor, walk a dog, or even exercise or walk alone. Family weddings and funerals are not prohibited. The government expressly stipulates that supermarkets and pharmacies only accept elderly people over 65 years old before noon. Since the elderly are easily infected, the government does not recommend that parents who have to go out to work give their children to the elderly. There are trusteeship agencies in each block. The authorities have also introduced a series of measures to help the disadvantaged groups, such as postponing the time limit for loan repayment, and fully exempting social insurance costs for industry practitioners seriously affected by the epidemic.

Compared with Hungary, the epidemic in Western Europe is more serious. The epidemic in Italy and Spain can be described by the word “tragic”. Of course, as in the hero of Wuhan, the greater the disaster, the more the power of humanity will be inspired. Italian medical staff also went on to succeed like their Chinese counterparts. They had been infected with 6,000 people and sacrificed 40 people. But even so, many retired doctors took the initiative to return to work. In a small town not far from Milan, 72-year-old Fr Bella Daly gave up his ventilator. He asked to stop the ventilator specially donated by the people of the parish to give him a stranger. A few days later, the old man died, and the whole town applauded him on the balcony. For more than a month, more than 50 priests in Italy have used their lives to practice their beliefs because they often enter and leave the intensive care unit to appease patients.

There is also great sadness. An Italian female nurse who voluntarily transferred to work in the intensive care unit jumped the river after a fever, because she did not want to involve other people “. Of course, no one wants to hear this kind of tragic news, but the extraordinary sense of responsibility of the deceased makes me awe-inspiring.

Although Europeans are slower in action, once they act, they are calm and decisive. Not only the British, French, German and other big governments paid money to subsidize the civilians who stayed at home, Poland also provided income subsidies for self-employed; the parties stopped each other’s attacks, the people also showed “wartime solidarity”, all countries organized Volunteer army. The earth is round, mankind is a community, and no one can be alone in disasters.

Silent Budapest makes me feel strange and familiar. In the face of the epidemic, citizens showed free consciousness and independent unity. There is fear but no panic; there is pain but no resentment. The emptiness of this city that has experienced too many hardships reminds me of the Budapest man depicted in the Malloy novel who was still in suit and leather walking through the rubble after the airstrike. He is elegant and calm, without a trace of apathy.