“When the pandemic hit, many people hunkered down at home, hoping to stay put and ride out the storm until it passed. For others, as the scourge of the coronavirus was spreading fast and seeking new host organisms anywhere it could find them, those early days in the eye of the storm, so to speak, were an anxious race against time.

With the number of people harboring the deadly pathogen rising at an alarming rate, governments around the world responded to the mounting public health crisis with various measures, including containing the viral spread through border closures. Before Canada shut its doors, Saurabh Sharma, 28 years old, managed to catch a plane from his native India and settled in Toronto to reunite with the love of his life.

“I’m glad I moved,” he said. “I know people whose permanent residency expired and are stuck in India for two years now. Their whole life is on hold.””