With much of the world now under lockdown, we speak to members from all corners of the globe to find out how life has changed for them under quarantine.
What is the situation like where you are and how is the government responding to the pandemic?
John Mackay, Hong Kong: The government was slow off the mark but has progressively increased restrictions. People coming into Hong Kong have to undergo 14 days of quarantine. Anyone testing positive for the virus has to enter quarantine. Sporting venues, cinemas and theatres have closed. No more than four people can meet in public. Face masks should be worn. People are advised to stay at home. New cases of infection are occurring daily, mostly people who have recently arrived from abroad.
Paul Surtees, Thailand: At the time of writing, Thailand has had only a few hundred confirmed cases. The government here has taken strong but necessary action. All shops, places of entertainment, restaurants, bars and so on have been closed down. That, so far, seems to having the desired effect of limiting the spread of this horrible virus.
Mary Cordis, Italy: As everyone knows Italy was the first European country outside of China to fall victim to Covid19. Because of this it was unprepared to deal with the rapid spread of this terrible virus. It took a while to understand that the people dying were not dying from the regular flu, since we were still in a peak period for the regular flu, but from the same virus as China. By the time the authorities in Lombardy realised what was happening, the virus has spread and the local medical facilities were overwhelmed. Moving to total lock down took time because as with every Government in Europe afterwards, the economic consequences were dire. However the Italian Government did bravely move to total lock down. As elsewhere in Europe and being the first country to be hit by the virus, there was a lack of ventilators, special equipment, masks but supplies are now getting to the areas that need them and temporary hospitals have been built very quickly to deal with the crisis. The Italian Government has coped well considering they were the first and the population is being very patient and on the whole abiding by the rules of lock down. As you will have seen the Italians set the trend for singing, clapping, waving flags and trying to be positive and show their appreciation for the front line workers.
How has your daily routine been affected?
Michael McKay, Switzerland: Greatly. I am essentially confined to my house and as most businesses have shut on the instructions of the Swiss Federal Govt., there is little business or social activity except at a family/household level. I run a small business.
Stephen Jones, Australia: I go to work and then come home, stopping at the supermarket if I need anything. Weekends are limited to activities at home, with the weather being very mild and sunny has helped. I am spending more time reading books too, which has been great.
Lyn Milne, New Zealand: First priority now to update on news via BBC News, Stuff, Facebook and our local Wanaka App. As we are required to stay in our home we are enjoying entertaining ourselves by reading, jigsaws, artwork, music, writing and Netflix. Exercise is limited to a 30 minute walk by Lake Wanaka in glorious autumn weather. No need to shave! Shopping as an "Over 70" is now done by mail order and collected on our behalf or delivered to our gate.
How are you keeping in touch with friends and family?
John Mackay, Hong Kong: I keep in touch with friends and family by e-mail, telephone, and Skype.
Mary Cordis, Italy: Obviously the whole world should thank the internet, our lifeline for everything. I have all the various apps for making free phone calls, video calls, I’m on Facebook etc and am fortunate that living in Rome, I have a very fast internet connection.
What do you miss most about being at the clubhouse?
Lyn Milne, New Zealand: Our 2020 visit in July is now on hold but these were always enjoyable times reacquainting with existing and meeting new staff, joining a concert in the Princess Alexandra Hall and always my usual reunion with ROSL colleagues from 40 years ago.
Stephen Jones, Australia: The friendliness of staff and other guests, exploring its facilities, and the club sandwich!
Mary Cordis, Italy: Since I usually visit the UK once a year and try to stay at the Club for at least right days, I’m hoping I'll be able to do that again later this year. I've been a member for many years and used the clubhouse for work purposes when I was in London. I've loved watching it grow and change with the times, as is necessary.
Can you give any recommendations for how your fellow members can stay engaged and active from home?
Paul Surtees, Thailand: People isolating themselves at home can at last have time to devote to things that they previously neglected, such as sorting out the family photos, learning a language, or reading many more books. I'm pleased to have more time for gardening. Some swear by instituting a daily schedule, while others (including me) relish having few appointments, for a change!
Stephen Jones, Australia: Alexander McCall-Smith and Dick Francis novels, and planning my next trip…some day! Fighting the garden, now I have a bit more time, including snail hunting.
Lyn Milne, New Zealand: A digital library is available free on the "Libby" App; log on using your NZ library card. You will gain access to enough books to last a life-time to read on your ipad or Kindle. Join Netflix at around $16 per month. You will find plenty to watch. Presently enjoying Witi Ihimaera's "Native Son" after hearing him at the Writer's Session at the NZ Festival of Arts in February. Also From the Ashes, Resistance Women, The Girl with Seven Names. Nightly fix of Netflix including Califate, Borderline, Babylon Berlin, Derek. Listening to Radio NZ Concert, watching NZSO livestreaming, enjoying Facebook house concerts with ROSL alumni. Reconnecting with elderly relatives to retrieve family history for archiving. Exchanging recipes and amusing poetry.
John Mackay, Hong Kong: I recommend keeping busy with hobbies, gardening, keeping in touch with friends and family, watching TV, taking regular exercise. Make out an exercise chart to record daily exercises such as walking, home treadmill, stretching, swimming. Every crisis is an opportunity.