I was asked by The Local to write a weekly round-up of the coronavirus situation in Denmark.
So I thought I’d share what I wrote here.
My week one update for The Local, Friday 20th March
It’s been nine days now since the Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen decisively announced that Denmark would go into lockdown, to slow down the spread of the coronavirus.
It was going to be tough, she said, but this was absolutely what was needed to control this very serious situation.
“Act today, rather than regret tomorrow,” was her stance, as cases of coronavirus were soaring. Days later came the closure of the country’s borders, and then the closure of all shops, bars and restaurants, except for pharmacies and those selling food. Then came the Queen. In an historic moment, she addressed the nation, live on Tuesday night. She told people not to be reckless, to listen to the government and stay away from other people.
There have been nine deaths linked to the coronavirus so far in Denmark. Testing for the virus has now changed to only acute cases.
And so, nine days since lockdown measures were first introduced, Denmark is very quiet.
People are heeding advice: cycling, walking, running at a safe distance from one another.
It took a few days to get into it, as people changed working habits, got into the swing of childcare from home, tested the boundaries of what could be done. But now the message and boundaries are very clear, as is the help employers and employees are going to get during this unprecedented time. There is a feeling that people are coming together.
Stock-piling has stopped and the supermarkets are full of supplies. Parents are sharing tips for entertaining and educating children at home. Elderly neighbours are being checked on and brought shopping. Apartment blocks are supporting each other, even a clap-along was held earlier in the week.
And then there is nature and the outdoors – the one saving grace. Unlike other European countries, this is still unrestricted for people in Denmark. One can only hope that cases slow down and people keep to social distancing so that a country, rooted in outdoor life, can stay that way.