All jokes aside, this is what our local supermarket looked like yesterday.

Around us, Denmark, Norway, and Poland are in complete lockdown. Further south, Italy, France and Spain are in lockdown and the UK is bringing the military in to guard hospitals and supermarkets. Swedes are advised not to travel to any other countries at the moment. All large gatherings are banned. Next week will tell whether schools will be closed. If that happens, I won’t have any work.

The site I follow most for updates is this one because it shows the number of infected per 1 million people (far more telling than the total number per country), and updates constantly with new cases as they come in. At the moment though, many countries are not testing and people who are not seriously ill are told to stay at home, so the real number of coronavirus cases is unknown.

In Sweden the first sick day is usually unpaid but the government suspended the qualifying day last week so that people who are even the slightest bit sick can stay at home with pay. The government is also releasing billions in extra credit for small businesses to allow them to stay afloat. Airlines and hotels are also laying people off at the moment so there will, in all likelihood, be more help coming. There is a special ‘disease carrier allowance’ allowing people who are self-isolating and in quarantine to be financially supported if they are unable to work from home.

Sweden has not closed schools yet. I am guessing that one of the primary factors is that in Sweden, both parents work. Closing daycare centres, pre-schools, and primary schools would mean that one parent would have to stay away from work to look after children. This would hit an economy that is already under strain even harder.

I have a small bottle of hand disinfectant clipped to the handle of my bag so I use this when I cannot wash my hands after touching card readers, escalator bands, anything on public transport, stair rails etc.

I am conflicted on this whole thing, because the panic around the pandemic seems to be causing more trouble than the pandemic itself. There is likely to be no problem in the production of toilet paper so I am not sure why people are hoarding that particular item.

To all my readers in countries in lockdown, my thoughts are with you. If we are all kind and generous to each other, we can get through this!

Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

2 thoughts

  1. It is a sad and serious period indeed. Schools, restaurants, bars, clubs, shops, swimming pools, cinemas, theatres, religious places etc have been shut down in France for an unlimited period. Only food shops, tobacconists and pharmacies remain open.
    I can no longer go to work as universities are closed but unlike you I still have work as we have to to on teaching online. It will change our habits, that’s for sure, but the most important is to avoid spreading the virus.
    I agree with you that the panic around the pandemic is causing a lot of trouble. I am fed up reading constant posts on FB or other social media about statistics. We all know that the situation is serious and that we all need to act accordingly. But creating chaos around it won’t help. I have even stopped following some groups as they are more depressing than anything else.

    1. My school is moving on to teaching online as well, although not all students will be able to do that and if I have to be at home I don’t have all the equipment to match my students’ setups. Facetime or Skype will probably be my option. Here’s hoping this will be better soon for you Nathalie.

Leave a Reply