Corona Virus (Covid19)

2020-04-04

Before the beginning of 2020, I don´t remember I heard about Corona Virus or Covid19. When I first heard about it I did not give it much attention. Gradually it became daily news with a lot of details on the television, newspapers and different social medias. 

First the focus was China particularly the city of Wuhan. After a while the virus found its way to South Korea, Italy, Iran and other parts of the world. Today the virus is turned in to pandemic and it is found all over the globe. Some countries are affected more than others. The situation in Iran is getting extremely bad due to the existing economic and political situation as well as the US sanctions. In the US while the infection is expanding to different states, New York is the most affected city in the country. Among European countries Italy and Spain suffered most and lost thousands of their citizens. 

The Nordic countries are no exceptions. While there could be different mechanisms for the speed of spreading of the virus, it is in Sweden believed that it first spread through skiers returning from Northern part of Italy. 

Within the Nordic countries measures taken for limiting speed of the spread of the virus varied quite a lot. While Denmark, Finland and Norway took drastic measures of closing schools, boarders, airports with some major restrictions, Sweden took measures with slow speed. 

The Swedish government and health authorities are giving continuous information, instructions on how to behave to limit the spread of the virus and warnings on what to do and not to do. Persons over 70 years are asked to restrict their movements, high schools and universities started to give their education digitally, administrative and factory workers are giving temporary permission to stay at home. 

There are also warnings not to come closer to other persons while we are out of our homes, so called “social distance”. There was a restriction in the first round that meetings for more than 500 persons were not allowed. A few weeks later the restriction has gone down to meetings allowed to a maximum of 50 persons. This is by far a large number of people compared to some countries such as Germany, where more than 2 persons are not allowed to meet (this must be outside the family because many families can have by far large number of members than 2). This restriction affects many cultural and other activities. 

Considering all this, how is my life as an individual affected and how am I coping with it? My wife and I lived and live in Gothenburg, the second largest city of Sweden with about 680, 000 residents. While living here I was weekly commuting 250 km to my work at Karlstad University. Since mid-March I am working online from home. 

At present most part of the day, we are staying at home. We go out for shopping once every two to three days (while we are doing our own shopping, we also do shop for a friend who is 86 years old). As usual we bake our own bread and prepare our different meals.

Every day we are doing our own small exercises and we even take part in the 20 minutes television gymnastics. We are also out for short walks and biking tours. One recent development in our social life is meeting our best friends online. We are five couples spread in the city and one couple live on an island outside the city. Once a week we see each other and talk to each other. We update each other on how the week was for us and talk about what is going on around us. 

Here, I just attempted to say a little bit on Corona Virus or Covid19 and its effect on our daily routines. This is a very short personal reflection, which did not attempt to go in to the economic, political and social effects and the future consequences of the virus. I hope soon the virus will be stopped so we can return to our “normal” life that will include re-building what we lost and prepare to face similar pandemic in the future.

Getahun Y Abraham   

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