The teenage years are known for being the best time of life. Going out with friends, partying, enjoying life at the best; these are all things that most teenagers would do. But life has changed since the coming of coronavirus.
In Italy we have spent the majority of 2020 in lockdown and, when we aren’t stuck in the house, we always have to wear masks and stay at a safety distance from everyone. We can’t travel abroad and sometimes we also can’t go to the next town. We study online, we don’t have physical contact with our classmates. We live with fear, the fear of coming down with the virus ourselves and the fear of infecting others.
But is it like this everywhere? No, it isn’t. I asked a 18 year-old Australian girl from Brisbane to answer some questions regarding the situation in her country. Here are her answers…
Do you do online school?
We had to do online school for 2 months. At my school everyone has a laptop, so a lot was already online.
Do you have to wear a mask outside?
No, we don’t. In Queensland you only must wear a mask if you are at the doctors or if you have just had a COVID-19 test and are waiting for results. Some shops, like Apple, make all customers wear masks.
Can you go and see your friends?
Yes, I could see my friends. When we were in full lockdown (from 22nd March to 25th May), we were allowed 2 extra visitors to our house at a time. Not that we visited each other much. I would also see them when I was out walking. But we mainly kept in touch by social media.
Do you have to keep a safety distance from others?
We are meant to keep 1.5m apart from people, but this is not enforced at school.
Are you allowed to travel?
We can travel anywhere within Queensland. The borders between the different states in Australia keep opening and closing to people who are from ‘Hot Spots’ and they have to have special permits to travel into Queensland. During the full lockdown we weren’t allowed to travel more than 50km from our house for essential daytrips.
Can you go in shops or cafes without wearing a mask?
Yes, we could always go into shops without masks in Queensland. On the other hand, in Victoria, people had to wear them.
Are you afraid of coming down with the virus?
No. In Australia we have very few cases and they use contact tracing so if someone has it they can quickly work out who they have been in contact with. This is done by using a QR code to put in your details if you enter a shop or store for more than just getting quickly served. In Queensland we have had 90 COVID-19-free days where the only cases reported have been from travelers returning to Australia who are diagnosed while in hotel isolation.
Australian teenagers seem to be living their lives similar to pre-covid-19. We, Italian teenagers, hope to be just as lucky and get back to normality as quickly as possible.
Sonia Ghilotti 3A