by Max Barry

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by Koralo. . 2 reads.


⚠️ COVID-19 Information - Due to the current pandemic regulations, all travel to Koralo for foreign nationals is currently prohibited, sections of the website pertaining to mobility are thus temporarily unavailable. We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience.

***Living the COVID-19 pandemic in Koralo

A Southern Pacific nation with close ties to China, Koralo was hit early on and harshly by the coronavirus pandemic. Decisions concerning the pandemic were made through the regular democratic system, however, pandemic-related issues were given high priority.

Learning from the present, growing from experiences

Koraloans believe there is teaching in every challenge. We went into the peak of the pandemic with a long-term vision that stemmed from the worrying conclusions of the Academy of Science that such pandemics as COVID-19 were to become deadlier and more frequent due to factors such as globalisation and global decrease in biodiversity. It is also part of Koraloan culture to nurture the four traditional forms of health: spiritual, mental, physical, and social. Koraloans believe that deterioration of any of these or the imbalance between them defines all that is regrouped under the traditional idea of what is unwell and that all four aspects have to be watched over in the pandemic context.

Everyone in Koralo is distributed Rations independently of their work. As such, the economic threat posed by strict measures would not weight on the individual but rather on the collective. Thus, a new model completing the existing one was implemented for current and future times of crisis. Whenever non-essential work would be stopped, Koraloans would be able to complete their duty to the nation with a temporary affectation of their choosing with greatly reduced working hours so that a minimal amount of people would be actively working at the same time. The goal being to hit two birds with one stone, to divide leftover work more effectively between the population rather than having it fall on a fraction, helping the economy and easing the toll of the pandemic on our essential workers.

In Koralo, everyone aged twenty-four and over is required to work by law. The university system oriented towards lifelong learning allows them to organise their courses as they wish after this point to continuously further their education. However, another idea was to benefit from these times to give education of our citizens an unprecedented boost. Thus, instead of a temporary affectation, Koraloans over twenty-four would now also be able to register for an online educational bundle provided by the Academy of Science, furthering their education in any given field of their choice, and potentially even preparing a diploma, or speeding up the process of obtaining one they have currently been working towards.

Koraloans believed that only aggressive measures would effectively slow down the spread of the virus in the country. However, for each of these measures and within every community, it was deemed essential that a safety net -such as the availability of a home-schooling platform or enough drive-through time slots for instance- were implemented before the restrictions -like closing schools or grocery shops-. This slowed down initial response to the threat of the pandemic but has allowed Koralo to maintain its measures much longer with greatly reduced economic risk.

Despite being open to international trade, we in Koralo have always maintained a strong policy of constantly aiming towards community-level self-sufficiency, an ideal autarkic goal for which we were often criticised. Koraloan-style self-sustainability is the idea that communities should ideally be able to fully feed and power themselves on the most local level possible. This is also encouraged with powerful incentives at the household level, with Koraloan housing norms allocating a dedicated space for home-working or vegetable gardens. Though it does present some economic disadvantages, it is what has allowed us on the long term to avoid or fight countless economic, environmental, and now sanitary crisis. It is this specificity of Koraloan economic choices that played a key role in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic through a series of emergency measures operating within the stable legal model described previously.

So what are the COVID-19 specific measures currently in effect?

  • The several phases of the Autarky Plan allow Koralo to go into prolonged periods of isolation from the rest of the world. Autarky level is currently Autarky Phase 3 to fight the third wave of the pandemic. All Koraloan ports and airports have been fully shut down, effectively closing the borders, and preventing access to the island.

  • The community-level Cordons Sanitaires allow systematic screening between tribal territories and main areas of population such as city-states. Systematic screening is also done daily to monthly for staff in different corporations.

  • Mass scale Contact Tracing using mobile data, and Emergency Shelters Plans allow the identification and isolation of infected individuals in full quarantine in a sterile, comfortable environment where they are fed and taken care of without needing to go out. Shelters have internet access and an intranet for social interactions between residents. Stays last from two weeks to a month.

  • Temporary Affectation Plan allows the minimisation of contact between people in professional contexts by sending as many people as possible to online learning, scattering essential workers shifts, and allowing prolonged vacations free of consequence.

  • The Quota System allows for quotas on the allowed amount of people authorised to be imposed on any type of public space, including streets, depending on many criteria such as size, openness, or health hazard. The system is a simple legal extension of the one already used in tourist venues to reduce human impact on the environment. Quotas in venues such as sport courts can be different depending on use, those being closed to supporters yet open for practice.

  • The Committee for Welfare launched Epidemic Rations for all, allowing citizens to be distributed sufficient amounts of masks and hand sanitizers, following what wearing a mask everywhere outside of one's home became mandatory.

In a lighter hearted note, what soon got nicknamed lockdown culture was given much attention and promotion in order to brighten up the mood of our citizens and create a sense of community in those difficult times. Beyond the boom of televised school aids and workout classes which has maintained itself quite well, more unique, COVID-19 friendly TV programmes such as a reality TV show inspired by the popular western show "The Circle" set amongst voluntary and asyptomatic Emergency Shelters' residents came into being. Much of this has inspired the birth of a new era of Koraloan sub-culture, which associations and professionals aim at carrying past the pandemic. A corresponding, cozy, home-bound aesthetic called sheltercore also completed the trend as recommendations to stay at home led the population into self-quarantines.

In Koralo the people is sovereign, and on 6 December 2020 it was decided by referendum that no authorisation of emergency use for a coronavirus vaccine would be provided as of yet. The nation preferring to wait for consequent feedback. This long-term approach working towards maintaining infrastructure important for leisure and mental health such as parks and sport courts, as well cultural events -in some form at least-, rather than keeping the venues of economic interests open at all cost instead -a priority resulting in a dangerous situation where citizens are only allowed out to work- stands different to the choices and worries of more capitalist nations. It is thanks to the strictness and durations of our measures that we have nevertheless managed. For in Koralo we believe that the well-being of each is at the heart of the success of all.

Stay strong, stay safe.