Corona chronicles from Denmark: Day 4 of quarantine

March 14 – another day in confinement. I am starting to get used to the situation. Most of the day is spent lazily in the comfort of the sofa right by the window while rejoicing in all the sun shining through the March sky.

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The main activity of the day is a short walk in the neighbourhood, far from cashing in those 10000 steps a day. Andreas on the other hand is back on his biking saddle.

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Photo © Ani Movsisyan & Andreas Eriksen

Corona chronicles from Denmark: Day 3 of quarantine

March 13 – news of the day is that Denmark is to close its borders from March 14. The second wave of hoarding starts among some people as they hurry across the border to Germany to fill up their cars, bikes and whatever moving item they can find with absolute necessities. The essential hoarding items this time are: beer, soda, shampoo. Of course toilet paper and yeast and still high on the list.

My day is spent on working in the company of a fresh batch of flowers – red tulips this time. Apart from signalling the arrival of spring, tulips also remind of my childhood. Having grown in a house with own field of tulips where I would run around as a little kid amidst the red and yellow beauties, they always bring a smile to my face.

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Photo © Ani Movsisyan

Corona chronicles from Denmark: Day 2 of quarantine

March 12 – Denmark has woken up to a new reality. Apart from the major food/toilet paper hoarding that seems to have happened all over the country, a sad feeling of panic feels the air.

The day is spent on work, trying to comprehend the new reality and staying glued to news. Everything is marked as breaking news intensifying the fear and feeling of panic. I am not feeling particularly cheerful, the prevailing mood is gloomy and anxious.

We just venture out to buy some bread and food supplies for the day. I notice fresh lavender in the neighbourhood store. This is what I need to put a tiny smile on my face. Two pots of lavender come home with me.

Another aspect to look forward to is that we decide to make the best of the home quarantine and finally subscribe to a weekly home delivery of organic, fresh produce that comes with exciting food recipes. In the recent years the busy work life and the fact of living right in the middle of the city with all kinds of enticing take-away options and restaurants, had taken over the love of cooking, and we had slowly descended into a routine of take-away food (healthy for the most part) and dine outs. Here was our chance to finally revert back to healthier work-life balance and after taking for months about starting the food subscription finally take action.

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The sun of the previous day suddenly gets replaced by crazy hail and snow storm. It lasts a short while, but the doomsday feeling it leaves behind is enough to send you into a depressive mood.

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It is March 12. Day 2 of quarantine. Overall feeling is that of uncertainty and anxiety. Small things that made me smile: pretty lavender and the prospect of starting to cook some nice meals again.

Photos © Ani Movsisyan & Andreas Eriksen

Corona chronicles from Denmark: Day 1 of quarantine

It is around 10:00 on March 11th, and we have just landed in the Copenhagen airport from Malaysia oblivious to what is yet to come and how lucky we are to have returned home exactly on the eve of the nationwide lockdown.

Following the news half-way across the world, you could sense that the corona hype had definitely intensified over the last week on the European continent. Back in Malaysia things were rather quiet, life seemed to run its natural course. There was one omnipresent addition of course – the disinfection gels that were seen everywhere you entered – from restaurants to shopping malls to metro stations. From time to time they would also check your temperature – at important gathering points, such as airports and office buildings.

Landing in Copenhagen via Amsterdam, no one cared to check temperature of arriving passengers. The only thing rude Dutch border control was interested in was to harass newly arrived, sleepy passengers into producing their passports for check just the moment you stepped out of the plane. One wonders about priorities, right??? As if a Schengen visa, an EU residency card or even better, a coveted passport from an EU land would somehow provide you with a magic antibody against a nasty virus that seems to be bringing the world to its knees. After more than 2 hours of delay stuck on a grounded plane in Amsterdam, finally we reach Copenhagen. Same story here – passport check performed by much more pleasant Danish border control right out of the plane. No need for temperature check. It is indeed bewildering…

Finally home and onto a packed agenda for the day you don’t have time to follow the news much. Things seem to be OK. The number of infected people in Denmark has doubled from the previous day and reached over 500. I decide to work from home for the rest of the week not feeling particularly calm taking the public transport to work. Little did I know that a few hours later the big lockdown of the country would commence…

IMG_8767We go for an evening stroll by the lakes. The sunrise is beautiful, the air is mild and you can feel the touch of spring everywhere. My favourite daffodils are blooming, crocus are out, trees are starting to turn green, birds are chirping.

IMG_8770In the evening, the Danish government announces that all educational institutions are to be closed, sending home all public employees that are not performing critical functions and advising private companies to do the same. One thing that was specifically emphasised was that the people of Denmark should not worry about food, there is plenty of that. What do some hear instead? I need to run to the supermarket right away and hoard all the food I can. To hell with precautions and not gathering too many people in one place. The two essential hoarding items are:

  1. Toilet paper!
  2. Yeast

It is hard to comprehend this panic reaction and especially the toilet paper. Lack of rational thinking in times of fear is a fascinating topic of study I am sure. Before long the Internet is filled with amusing photo and video footage of people standing in long queues in supermarkets proud of their purchases. There emerges even some fighting over toilet paper, surely inspired by the Aussies.

Overnight there lands a mail in my mailbox. We are to work from home until March 30th. And this is how the home quarantine starts.

Photos © Andreas Eriksen