The coronavirus pandemic's impact on daily life has been felt around the world and Syria is no exception, even as there are relatively few officially recorded cases in the country. To discuss more the impact of the pandemic on life in Syria, I conducted an interview on 14 April 2020 with a friend who is originally from Koaiya in the Yarmouk Basin area of Deraa province but works in Damascus. Any parenthetical insertions in square brackets are my own.
Q: Generally how has life in al-Sham [Damascus] and Koaiya been impacted because of the spread of the virus? Is the living situation more difficult than before?
A: al-Sham has recently faced a living collapse because of the coronavirus with regards to expensiveness of prices form one angle and from another angle with regards to the lack of availability of expenditure money: so for example the employee's salary is not sufficient for five days and the living situation has become very difficult. As for Koaiya, it is well-known as being an area renowned for the agriculture and people are working but because of the coronavirus as well life is difficult and the curfew has been detaining people in their homes and there is nothing to cover the household expenditure money and the situation has become worse than before.
Q: What are the measures you have noticed in your daily life with regards to preventing the spread of the virus?
A: Regarding the procedures we have taken the necessary measures to prevent the spread of the virus in terms of gloves and masks for the purpose of protection and prevention of the spread of the virus.
Q: You work in a shop. How has the crisis impacted the business and the prices and the availability of the goods?
A: It has caused a great impact in terms of selling and buying and the expensiveness of the prices. There are goods and there is everything but at limited hours and as I mentioned before very high prices and as for the shops, the business with them is a limited time in the hours of the day in which it is permitted to sell and buy after a decision from the Syrian government.
Q: Is there an impact on the services like electricity and water in Koaiya and al-Sham because of the virus?
A: Multiple impacts and the reduction in electricity for limited hours and likewise in all the provinces.
Q: Do you fear the spread of the virus generally? Do you have a message for the Syrian government?
A: Yes, of course because it is a fatal and deadly virus and the citizen must protect his health and the health of others besides him. As for the Syrian government, I direct a message of thanks and regards and they must do all they can to protect the health of the citizen, but I have a note: [there is the problem of] the expensiveness of the prices and the lack of presence of oversight to hold to account the shops, and they must take the necessary measures. And thanks.