Nat Ho, Anthony Chen and Sharon Au on life under lockdown in the West
Becoming a stay-home dad, having school online, and encountering racism - these are some of their experiences
Countries in the West have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, and are battling its spread by imposing strict lockdown measures.
The US has surpassed China as the country with the largest number of Covid-19 cases in the world, with more than 122,000 people infected, and more than 2,100 deaths.
Singaporean celebrities Nat Ho, Anthony Chen and Sharon Au tell The New Paper what life has been like under lockdown in Los Angeles, London and Paris respectively.
ANTHONY CHEN IN LONDON
England went on lockdown last Monday, but the award-winning film-maker of Ilo Ilo and Wet Season felt the government there "acted too late and waited too long", and that "the inaction and wavering was really disturbing".
When Chen was in Singapore and Taiwan earlier this year, he witnessed the vigilance, with proper systems already in place to combat Covid-19.
He said: "It felt like the UK government was just watching on the sidelines and not preparing for the virus to spread to Europe. Total shambles. It's quite shocking how the measures taken in much of the West smell of desperation."
Chen did think about flying home as the situation escalated, but was unable to as his wife holds Chinese citizenship and her company had banned all employees from travelling.
For the 35-year-old director, the past couple of weeks have been been "incredibly stressful".
When he returned to London from Los Angeles earlier this month after a week of meetings, his wife came down with a fever and began self-isolating in their bedroom for seven days.
The experience was "quite traumatic" for their one-and-a-half-year-old son, and physically and emotionally "exhausting" for Chen.
"He couldn't quite understand why mummy was wearing a face mask, why she was locked up in her room and why we had to be at the door, standing metres away from her," he said.
"For the entire week, I had to take care of him, and when he took the odd nap, I quickly did the cooking, laundry and cleaning."
Chen said that even though he is home, there is "less free time".
He has some scripts and novels to read for work, and writing to do as well.
And now that all schools and nurseries have closed, he has become the full-time caregiver for his toddler, as his wife - who works in finance - is mostly deskbound at home during office hours.
He said: "The lockdown is for three weeks, and it has been only a few days and I can't imagine doing this for so long. And yet, I suspect it might be for three months."
The pandemic has also affected his latest film Wet Season, as cinemas across Malaysia closed just days after it was released there.
It is scheduled to open in Hong Kong on April 30, but Chen is unsure if the distributor will go ahead. Despite his frustrations with the government, Chen still admires the community spirit of the British people.
"In my neighbourhood, we have always looked out for one another," he said. "All across the country, including in my community, we all have Covid-19 WhatsApp groups to help one another in these times of need."
NAT HO IN LOS ANGELES
As the situstion in the US worsened and it soon became the Covid-19 epicentre, his parents and friends implored him to return home, but the 35-year-old actor-singer stood fast and said he would stay put in his North Hollywood neighbourhood.
He feels self-isolation in his apartment "makes more sense" right now.
Ho, who is best known for playing the lead in the Channel 5 series Tanglin, said: "With the number of cases increasing exponentially by the day, I am more likely to pick something up at the airport or on the long flight back.
"Nowhere is safe until this thing blows over. The less movement there is, the safer for everyone."
The state of California has been on lockdown since March 19, and Ho expects it to extend beyond May.
He left Singapore last July to study music production at Icon Collective, which had to close during the week of his final exams. He then completed them online.
His final quarter of school will be online too.
The only time he steps out of his home is to drive to his local mailbox to pick up his online orders (which include groceries) and get back - a "10-minute affair".
The self-proclaimed introvert said he has been coping with the lockdown quite well because "music producers tend to stay in their caves for long periods of time".
"I'm also being prudent and cautious with my spending right now. If I stay home and cook the groceries that I order online and do proper portion control, it could go a long way."
A regular routine he has given up is going to the gym, as they all have shut.
Instead, he has switched to body-weight workouts at home and he has taken up gardening, hoping it will help him feel more "grounded" in this time of uncertainty.
Ho is slated to graduate from Icon Collective in July and plans to stay on in Los Angeles to work.
"I may also look at other online avenues of work, like digital retouching," he said.
"I'm actually a really simple person and when it's time to live simply, I can still be happy."
SHARON AU IN PARIS
France has been on lockdown since March 17, and the 44-year-old former actress-host has been following the rules diligently as "it is the only way we can save lives".
Au, who moved to Paris in 2018 and works in a private equity firm, said: "We are allowed to step out of the house only for the following reasons: See a doctor, buy food, help someone in need, walk your dog, jog a maximum of 2km (from) your home, or if your job does not allow you to work from home.
"You need to download an approval form from the official government website, state your reason for going out and sign it."
Au recently experienced "blatant intolerance" for the first time in Paris.
She wrote on Instagram about her encounter with a Frenchman in his 70s who angrily told her to "stand far away from him" and that "the disease came from you people, go back to China".
Most of her days are spent teleconferencing for work. After that, she catches up on the news, reads, writes, does the chores and watches Netflix.
As she is a "horrible cook", she orders local dishes like chicken rice, laksa and kaya toast from a fellow Singaporean who runs Singapore cafe-bistro The Hood Paris.
"She has been my source of comfort, sending me garlic, ginger, chilli sauce and homemade kaya. I am counting on her to feed me," she said.
Au has no plans to return to Singapore because she is wary of being a carrier of the virus should she risk travelling.
"For the greater good, it is wiser to stay put and be confined in my small apartment. I do not know where the next few weeks or months will take us, (but) I will cope with this one day at a time," she said.