Trapped in paradise: Day 12 in Santo Domingo with the Coronavirus

Coronavirus, Dominican Republic, English

It is now day 12 since tightened measures came into force in the Dominican Republic. The spreading Coronavirus should be combated, minimized and slowed down with these governmental actions. I am quite surprised, on the one hand, that these taken measures are of an extremely strict nature. And, on the other hand, they are enforced and pursued very consistently by the Dominican executive.

The Dominican government reacted far too late to the global development of the Coronavirus as many other countries as well. It was more important to wait until the local elections were held on March 15. However, compared to many other governments around the world, the Dominican Republic was after that mentioned date quite authoritarian and rigorous.

For example: If anyone gets caught at night after the curfew, they get penalized immediately, will be arrested and go straight to jail. The following picture reached me via WhatsApp and shows some of the people who have violated these strict curfew times:

In contrast to the weak laissez-fair style of some European countries, it’s a big contrast for me to see the executive forces that merciless. By the way: The curfew at night was initially from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. But was then extended to 5 p.m. – 6 a.m. Less free time that we can spend outside.

But I did walking around a bit to do some errands and check the general situation. Do I just live in a well-guarded and calm zone? What about other parts of Santo Domingo?

This is ‘Avenida Maximo Gomez’ – one of the worst transportation hubs in Santo Domingo. It drove me literally crazy multiple times before when I needed to cross that street. If you are lucky enough to be allowed to work in that specific sector around ‘Avenida Maximo Gomez’, you would be quite amazed about these quiet days we are all experiencing. This street usually looks like this:

I would have never expected that the terribly congested traffic of Santo Domingo could be relieved and calmed down at some point. It just needed a global pandemic to establish normal traffic conditions for the oldest city on the American continent.

What I could record from my balcony was surprising and disturbing as well:

Jeez, we poor citizens were once again reminded by loudly announcements from the mayor’s friendly voice that we should please rather stay at home. Which of course I did, otherwise I would not have been able to record this video.

These cars drove through my district for hours and sounded loud enough to not understand your own words in the apartment. Because of missing rebellious crowds of people on the streets, this measure seems a bit overpowered to me.

Regardless of that, Dominican people turn out to be surprisingly cooperative and obedient. What about supermarkets and how to get supplies?

Next page: How difficult it is nowadays to enter a supermarket

Día 3: Como maneja Santo Domingo el Coronavirus en toque de queda?

Coronavirus, Dominican Republic, Español

Tiempo aproximadamente de leer: 6 minutes


Would you like to read this article in English? Click the following link 🇺🇸

En mi último artículo, predije algunos escenarios que podrían ocurrir debido al Coronavirus en República Dominicana y las contrarrestaciones del gobierno dominicano. En su mayoria las predicciones fueron correctas e incluso sucedió cuando estaba escribiendo el último artículo. Eso fue hace casi 6 días. ¿Qué ha cambiado desde entonces? ¿Cómo cambió la vida en la ciudad? ¿O aún no hay ningún cambio visible?

¿Qué sucede en la zona colonial durante el coronavirus?

En este articulo les contaré lo que sucede en la Zona Colonial, parte más antigua de la ciudad más antigua del continente americano.

Algunas escenas de la vida típica dominicana se pueden observar directamente desde mi balcón y suele estar llena de caos en el tráfico, mucha gente corriendo por los recados en las calles, ruidos fuertes en cada esquina y autos estacionados que estrechan la calle aún más.

El siguiente video lo grabé el 8 de marzo, hace 12 días, antes que la población dominicana se enterara del Coronavirus por su gobierno o prestara más atención a este tema. Por lo general, el tráfico en la calle en la que vivo tiene el siguiente aspecto:


El típico caos de tráfico en Santo Domingo, pero ahora 12 días después, la situación en la misma calle y filmada desde la misma perspectiva desde el mismo balcón:


¿Notaste alguna diferencia? Si no, déjame resumirlo:

  • Hay menos autos estacionados en la calle.
  • Menos tráfico y menos caos.
  • Es mucho más silencioso que en el primer video.
  • El número de peatones es drásticamente más bajo que antes.
  • Desde el cuarto piso se puede escuchar al vendedor ambulante gritar mientras se para junto a la cámara.

Especialmente la escena con el vendedor ambulante no es aterradora sino desalentadora. Viene todos los días con su viejo vehículo y grita por las calles. Ofreciendo aguacates, mangos y guanábana frescas. Las frutas típicas de un país caribeño como la República Dominicana. Pero no, todo es un poco diferente.

Este hombre ahora está casi solo en la calle, nadie más está usando su espacio, apenas pasa un auto, no hay gente que lo detenga para comprar sus frutas porque no hay gente en las calles.

Página siguiente: El Parque Duarte durante el Coronavirus

Curfew, Day 3 – How is life in Santo Domingo during the Coronavirus?

Coronavirus, Dominican Republic, Español

Approximate reading time: 5 minutes


Quieres leer este articulo en Español? Haz clic aquí y siga la enlace 🇪🇸

In my last article, I predicted some scenarios that could happen due to the Coronavirus for the Dominican Republic and the counteracts from the Dominican government. I predicted mostly right. Some of my predictions and thoughts were even realized during I was writing the last article. That was now almost 6 days ago. What all has changed since then? How did life change in Santo Domingo? Or isn’t there any change at all visible?

What happens in the Colonial Zone in Santo Domingo during the Coronavirus?

I can only speak for the Colonial Zone and what’s happening in the oldest part of the oldest city of the American continent. Hence, I have no clue at all what is going on in the rest of the city or the Dominican Republic. I can only report what I see myself around hear and what I take notice of. And that was almost nothing.

Some scenes of the typical Dominican life can be observed directly from my balcony. And the daily life is usually full of traffic chaos, a lot of people running for errands through the streets, loud noises at every corner and parked cars that narrow the street even more down.

The following video I recorded on March 8. That’s 12 days ago and was before the Dominican population was made aware of the Coronavirus from their government or paid a deeper attention to that topic. Usually the traffic in the street I live looks the following:

Just the typical Dominican traffic chaos in Santo Domingo. But now 12 days later, the situation on the same street and filmed from the same perspective of the same balcony:

Did you notice any difference? If not let me sum it up:

  • There are fewer cars parked on the street
  • Less traffic and the usual resulting chaos
  • It is much quieter than in the first video
  • The number of pedestrians is drastically lower than before
  • You can hear from the 4th floor the street vendor shouting as he stands next to the camera

Especially the scene with the street vendor is not scary but daunting. He comes every day with his old vehicle and yells through the streets. Offering fresh avocados, mangos, and guanabana. The typical fruits from a Caribbean country like the Dominican Republic. But no, it all is a bit different than before.

This man is now almost lonely in the street. No one else is using his space on the street. Barely a car passing by. There aren’t any people stopping him to buy his fruits. Because there aren’t people on the streets.

Next page: Parque Duarte during the Coronavirus

Coronavirus in the Dominican Republic – Facts, statistics, possible effects and some scenarios

Dominican Republic, English

Approximate reading time: 15 minutes


I am not a journalist, neither a virologist or really firm about the corona virus. What I know, is of course not more than just what others know about the recent situation. But I like to report a little bit about the daily life in Santo Domingo and the Dominican Republic. Maybe people are interested about how things are running here and what people do.

But first I would like to thank the Chinese government for the recent development. You made all that possible because of these strange eating and hygiene habits. All of our lives are potentially affected and theoretically in danger because they like to eat this weird type of animal and made medicine out of it:

Did you ever heard before of a Pangoline ?!

Whatever crank and perfidious gourmet phantasies they were trying to satisfy for themselves, now everyone turns insane because of that and freedom worldwide is or will be limited gradually. There’s no court of justice to hold China or Chinese for all of that responsible. How to sue and penalize China for that?

Probably, people worldwide will at least boycott for a few weeks the Chinese imports and low-quality Made-in-China labelled products to create at least a little backlash. I can remember the same happenings for the UK and the British Beef industry with BSE problematic decades ago. A poor consolation, but other than that there won’t be any international penalties possible. China is a too heavy and dependent player and definitely won’t take responsibility for that. Personally, I can live for a couple of months without buying new and useless plastic junk anyways.

About the Dominican way of with dealing problems

But a more interested question was for me IF people from the Dominican Republic do something. The Dominican mentality is very distinct and laid-back. I think, it could be described as the following:

“What should I care about other people’s problems? I am doing just fine, I enjoy my life and I have no worries as long as I am sufficiently supplied and have enough to eat and to drink. Gracias a Dios!”

Dominican understanding of life

A good example might be the following video:

A guy sleeping in his car with a started engine to run his A/C

This careless and maybe ignorant attitude for others and themselves is of course be put to the test when it comes to extreme situations. Situations become extreme for an individual, when they are exceptional, unforeseen and if there are no experience values to benefit from. What is even more complicated and delicate at the same time, is when these extreme situations become a collective problem.

However, the Dominican Republic is actually quite lucky when it comes to extreme situations or natural disasters. The huge earthquake was 2011 in Haiti and affected the Dominican Republic only in minor cases. All types of Caribbean tornados regularly hit other countries. The country is politically relatively stable and there aren’t any supply shortages, because the agricultural conditions of the country allow a rich variety of food. At least that’s my own perception.

Gracias a Dios!

The Dominican Republic decides more or less like a laggard

Due to its geographic and historic situation, the Dominican Republic is an ideal spot for tourism and functions as a connection anchor in Latin America. Santo Domingo (where I live at the moment) is considered as an important air hub on the American continent and has two international airports.

Santo Domingo is literally an air hub in Latin America.

And they are connecting the biggest country of the Caribbean with many other countries. Of course. Because people from these countries are planning their vacations in the Dominican Republic.

In fact, there is an extreme high dependency on other countries because these tourism reasons. The Dominican Republic waits for the customer to show a reaction before they will themselves do actions.

This laggard type of behavior slows down a country. Not to suppress the facts with the ongoing problematic with corruption. According to the World Corruption Index 2019, the Dominican Republic ranks 137 of 180. Not a surprise, that this is quite bad scoring.

Politics and bigotry is more important than collective measures to protect the population

All these reasons reflect on the situation with the handling of the Coronavirus a well. Inefficient and corrupt politicians don’t really know what to do in this case. In this emergency situation, it’s of course difficult to have a Plan B, if you don’t even have a Plan A.

But the Dominican Republic is compared to many other countries worldwide and in Latin America extremely slow and hesitating to do some actions. Other countries shut down transport systems, lock down some social structures or even recommend to limit down social activities at all. The Dominican Republic didn’t do anything so far.

Why you want to ask?

2020 is a very important election year for the Dominican Republic. On 17th of May there will be for example the general elections of the country. It’s because of that very convenient from the perspective of the running leaders of the Dominican Republic to keep the population quiet and controlled.

In times of these aforementioned extreme situations, the Dominican politicians show a lack of decision making. It would be actually the perfect moment to show some character and profile for the upcoming votes. It seems to me, that they more scared to do something wrong than make a clear statement to prepare the population for what’s about to come.

But there aren’t only general elections in the Dominican Republic. The municipal elections were supposed to happen on February 16, but were due to an embarrassing error of the automated voting system suspended to March 15.

That’s exactly tomorrow! Millions of Dominican people will try to vote tomorrow again. Now that’s quite a delicate moment and situation. Suspending it again will cause protests and unrest. But holding the elections will spread the Coronavirus rapidly amongst the population.

And after the looooong introduction, I will gladly start now the actual topic of this article. The Coronavirus.

Next page: Facts about the Coronavirus in the Dominican Republic