- More than half a million people have been infected by the novel coronavirus at the time of writing.
- A third of the world is under some form of lockdown to minimize the spread of COVID-19.
- It can be easy to feel isolated, so neighborhoods have found creative ways to lift spirits and promote interaction while social distancing.
- Communities in Spain, Ireland, Australia, and India have started playing balcony bingo across buildings and apartment complexes.
- Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.
From the balconies of an apartment building in Hortaleza, a district just north of Madrid, Spain, you can hear numbers being called out every evening.
The residents are listening closely. Their goal is to win balcony bingo.
The game started as a way to safely interact as the coronavirus spreads and people are urged to practice social distancing. A third of the world is under some form of lockdown, including Spain, where residents are only allowed to leave for essential tasks, like a trip to the pharmacy or grocery store.
People have found creative ways to stay connected without leaving their home
In Italy, people dance and sing from balconies to lift spirits, while Iran has transformed its mosques into places to sew masks and stockpile food for those in need.
In Spain, neighborhoods turned to bingo.
"It helps us stay entertained at night," Cristina Pruenza, the organizer of balcony bingo, told Condé Nast Traveler. "It brings us all together to laugh, and to be happy. And it creates an incredible feeling of solidarity."
The idea came after seeing how other communities were responding to the virus. The complex's residents brainstormed ways to come together, and bingo won.
The whole event lasts about an hour, where music is played, numbers are called, and a winner is declared.
"It is so satisfying to see all our neighbors having fun together," Pruenza told Condé Nast Traveler. "These little moments where we are all helping one another is what really makes me happy."
Madrid, Spain, isn't the only location that's turned to bingo
Seville, Spain, also picked up the game along with Dublin, Ireland. The winners receive Easter eggs and rolls of toilet paper.
Areas in India have also turned to balcony games after Prime Minister Narendra Modi imposed a 21-day lockdown on the country.
In Delhi, India, Tambola, a game similar to bingo, is played from balconies.
The game has even spread to Queensland, Australia, where a retirement home has adapted the game to encourage social distancing.
These neighbors have shown that it's still possible to engage, interact, and find joy during these challenging times.
Do you have a personal experience with the coronavirus you’d like to share? Or a tip on how your town or community is handling the pandemic? Please email [email protected] and tell us your story.
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