Where were you when it happened?

Where were you when it happened?
First local press conference on COVID-19, held March 12, 2020. In the face of a slew of new directives issued by the provincial government to help control the spread of COVID-19 and the news of a case in the Estrie region, Estrie Public Health Director Dr. Alain Poirier said that the situation was being taken seriously by the healthcare network. (Photo : Record archives)

David Rossiter
Special to The Record

A year ago Thursday, March 11 the COVID-19 virus was officially declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization. At Bishop’s University, confusion and speculation were abundant as some people left for home and eventually the school closed for “two weeks”.
Noah Lane, a business student at Bishop’s was in his third year of university when the pandemic hit. He was on his way to Innsbruck University in Austria to study abroad and experience the semester of a lifetime, or so he thought.
Lane touched down in Austria Feb. 24, 2020. Coincidentally, he said, “That was the day of the first recorded COVID-19 case in the country.
In early March, as the novel coronavirus’ notoriety began to grow, Lane was enjoying the first couple weeks of his trip. An avid skier, he was enjoying his first taste of the world famous Swiss Alps. “I was skiing every day, meeting people, and getting settled in for my semester at the university,” he said.

But then, “it went 0-100”. After cases began to rise in Innsbruck, only a couple hours away from hard-hit Italy, news spread that the university was about to implement a mandatory two-week isolation for all on-campus residents. Lane realized he had to get out of Austria and back to Canada while he still could.

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