My week two update for The Local, Friday 27th March
It was one month ago today that the first Dane tested positive for the coronavirus. It was thought then that the risk of widespread infection was low. How different things are now; 41 deaths linked to the coronavirus in Denmark and 1,851 people who have tested positive.
Now Denmark is heading into week three of lockdown. As we overtake the initial two-week bar that was set, we know this will be the way of life until at least April 13th– the new date the government set this week. But there is no sign of any let-up.
Over the weekend the Danish National Police started to text every mobile user in the country to remind them to keep to social distancing.
The government announced plans to double or even quadruple the punishment for coronavirus-related crimes.
And an Easter message came in the warning of not to visit any family or friends during the long weekend of påske.
But there is a fine line to tread in cranking up restrictions. Earlier this week the Danish Patient Safety Authority set up a secure email for people to report anyone suspected of being infected with the coronavirus. It was soon taken down after backlash that it was an infringement of human rights.
After two weeks, lockdown life is no longer new, yet it is still not normal and it is certainly not easy. The sun has shone every day this week in Copenhagen, yet we have to be careful how we enjoy it.
In my courtyard, people take a break from work and sit drinking coffee in the sun but no one is near each other. As I walk around the block to get my toddler to sleep, people step off the pavement to keep their distance.
But there are smiles, as everyone acknowledges what we are doing in these very strange times. I have probably got to recognise my neighbours more than I ever have, through a ‘god dag’ at a distance. People are all doing their bit, knowing it will make a difference.
Already this week, Denmark’s Statens Serum Institut said it estimated that the tough lockdown could cut the rate the coronavirus spreads in the country by as much as half. Welcome news as we enter the next phase of lockdown of no doubt groundhog day.