Coronicles: Lockdown in the land of hygge
It was amazing how a whole country came together to follow the rules that were set up in such a quick span of time.
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"Given the spread of the coronavirus, we are going to take some strict measures," Mette Frederiksen, the Prime Minister of Denmark, was crisp and clear in her press briefing. The country of Denmark was going into lockdown effective March 13, 2020. After the first case was identified in late February, there were murmurs that a nationwide lockdown was imminent.
Now the lockdown was here. I switched off the TV after the briefing and rushed to my balcony. I needed some air. The evening sky of Copenhagen glistened with stars and the gentle breeze playfully rustled the leaves, oblivious to the uncertainty that the residents of Denmark were going to face in the upcoming weeks. I finished my cigarette and sighed. Life will never be the same again.
You can never be prepared for something like this. Even with the high social stability of Denmark, the first few days of lockdown were hard. When something unprecedented happens, the human mind has a tendency to go back to its primal nature. Survival. The corona crisis did the same to me.
Even though the press conference mentioned that all the necessary shops will be functional, the first thing I did the next day was to go to a supermarket and ‘panic buy’ things. I stocked up on basic supplies. I was all ready for the ‘lockdown’. While growing up, I fantasised about a pandemic-stricken world, where I would rescue puppies from the evil zombies. I am thankful that my fantasy has not come true (yet!).
It was never a ‘Hard Lockdown’ in Denmark, but people were well-informed and helped each other in these troubled times to keep the spread to a minimum. (Photo: Reuters)
The ensuing weekend, I made my home office ready.
Working in IT comes with the huge perk of ‘working from home’ during this crisis scenario. The transition from a full functional office-goer to a home professional was quite smooth for me and I believe it was the same for other people who could work remotely. Denmark and I were now ready to face the pandemic.
The modern-day warriors
In order to keep up the supply and demand matrix, the Danish population quickly adapted to online shopping. New mobile apps were launched and old ones updated to cater to the needs of the people. Delivery guys were the new superheroes. Most of my acquaintances were ordering the required things from the internet.
Two weeks into the lockdown, people were getting used to this new digital supply network. It was amazing how a whole country came together to follow the rules that were set up in such a quick span of time. It was never a ‘Hard Lockdown’ in Denmark, but people were well-informed and helped each other in these troubled times to keep the spread to a minimum.
In order to save the small businesses, a lot of people had bought ‘gift cards’ and the banks had agreed to provide small loans to help them out. The Statsministeriet (Ministry of State) were issuing regular updates and keeping the general population apprised of the situation. The medical system was overwhelmed in the beginning; however, by end of Week 3, they seem to be in control of things. I was seeing a flicker of light at the end of the tunnel.
Denmark is opening up slowly. ‘Kid Schools’ have opened up. Offices will still stay closed till May 10. All personnel who are able to work from home have been advised to work from home till then.
I am doing my part – singing the morgensang, dancing with Melvin, doing my work and looking forward to the end of this bumpy road – doing all this from my couch. Doing all this from a country I call my second home. The country, which is known for its fun, its cosy lifestyle, its hygge.
To our belief in humanity. Skål!