After many months in Bangkok with lockdown, curfew, masks, temperature measuring, weeks with a ban on selling alcohol, I arrived on 24 June 2020 to Copenhagen which was almost a shock.
The normally so busy Suvarnabumi airport had been dark and almost empty on my departure from Bangkok, really ghostlike. I was flying with SWISS as there was not a big choice. We had made a short stop in Zurich where everything seemed to be normal, restaurants and shops were opened and many people were there. You didn’t see people wearing masks or keeping away from each other. Unfortunately I had no time to walk around and no time to visit the duty free shops.
The flight from Zurich to Copenhagen was exactly the same as always. No free seat between the passengers, but the flight attendances wore gloves and masks, as well as some passengers.
I had expected to be facing some difficulties in the passport control and I had prepared documents, explaining why I had to go to Copenhagen and that I was going to rent a car and drive to my brother, who lives in Struer. Instead I was warmly welcomed, but asked to wear a mask. People arriving without wearing a mask, were kindly asked to do so. As I was used from Thailand to wear a mask, I was prepared of course.
I spent a week in Denmark and had the most wonderful weather, almost too warm, at least for the Danes.
The Danes kept distance among themselves, but were not too concerned about the virus. Shops were open as normal and people still gathered together. There was a respect for the virus, but people enjoyed daily life.
Jumping over to Sweden and I got really taken by surprise. It was like Corona never had existed. No one wearing a mask, despite one or two foreigners. Due to the beautiful weather, the restaurants were crowded and the tables in the same positions as before Covid. There were of course, bottles with sanitary spray placed here and there, but how many used it? Some shops have changed opening hours, instead of opening up at 10 am, they opened at noon and closed a bit earlier.
You can’t help asking yourself if these minor changes would make any positive influence???
The authority in Gothenburg decided to make a raid one day and checked out an amount of restaurants and found that 9 out of 10 were not following the new distancing rules.
On TV you could follow the head epidemiologist Anders Tegnell from the Public Health Authority (Folkhälsomyndigheten) talking in his calm way about flock immunity and how to handle a pandemic. Despite plenty of critics, he never lost his politeness and patience. Among many Swedes he’s highly appreciated and several tattoo lovers have had tattoos of his face done, to show him their appreciation.
Sweden is divided in two different camps of opinions, those who are a 100% believers and trust Anders Tegnell, and those who blame him for his outstanding way of looking at this virus. The neighbor countries Denmark, Norway and Finland, as well as most other countries, are not
comfortable with the Swedish way.
Many ask the question, does Sweden really know so much more than the rest of the world? There is no right or wrong answer yet, as it will take some time to find out.
In certain parts of Sweden, like in the south of Sweden, old people are taking the virus seriously. Friends, who use to meet up for lunches or dinners frequently, have kept away from each other and stayed home, isolated, and still do so. This has led to depression, especially among the ones living alone. Many are depending on their children to get food delivered and if no children around, the friend’s children or young students are reaching out.
The old people stand behind the kitchen curtains with pain in their eyes, looking out at their children and grand children waving from outside. I have a feeling that we will see many elderly people dying too early due to loneliness and pain.
People belonging to the environmental parties, like “Miljö partiet” e.g now see the chance for the nature to recover from the damage caused by us humans.
In a way, Sweden has managed to keep business going. People have worked part time from home and as the Daycare schools have kept open, it hasn’t caused so much problem for the parents.
Some small innovative businesses have exploded.
It’s amazing to see how the number of fitness coaches has increased. In every park and even on the pavements downtown Stockholm, you see them with a tail of people running, jumping and bending. The coach wear a shirt with big letters saying COACH. It’s also clear that people during this time have developed a bigger interest in pets. Long time since so many dogs and cats have been sold.
Watch out, think twice before you buy a new mixed bread, that can bring you problems. The Royal “Kennelklubb” (Kennels) is against those dogs, as they have become very popular and our Crown Princesse Victoria, has been much criticised for buying a mixture.
Many things nowadays have changed and more to come probably.
Will the world ever be the same again, can we go back to the lifestyle we had before Covid 19? Probably not.
Our near future will bring us depressions, divorces, suicides, but has also given some families the opportunity to become more close, to spend more quality time with each other, time to communicate etc.
There are always two sides.
With the unusually beautiful, warm and sunny summer, it’s in a way, easy to forget Covid and all bad things along with it and instead “Carpe diem” (catch the day).
The one who lives will see, que sera sera – whatever will be, will be..