What do my friends have in the world?

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I asked four of my friends around the world four questions about the corona crisis. They were in charge from Kenya, Norway, Sri Lanka and Australia. Two of my friends I have met on my journeys, and while two of them are Finnish, who live abroad. The responses tell of their own views and experiences during this time. One of them works as a nurse at the front line, one monitors the economy for his work, one works in the tourism industry and one teaches children at school.

Four questions and answers from four different people:

  1. How does the coronavirus appear in the country where you live?
  2. How do you feel about how your daily lives and livelihoods may have changed?
  3. How do you think your country has managed to deal with the crisis?
  4. What can we learn from you about this crisis?

Abigael, Nurse and Founder of Vihiga Girl / Boy Child Intervention Initiative , Vihiga Province, Western Kenya

1. The coronavirus has had a significant impact on the economy of our developing country. 

Most people are now unemployed and cannot afford food. Domestic violence has increased, which may be related to people’s anxiety. The children have been at home since the schools closed. For most children, getting school food is extremely important and they are not getting it now.

For many, staying at home is difficult because they would have to get food from somewhere. This is especially true in slums, where poverty is extreme. In slums, keeping social distance is also challenging, as households are crowded and a family of ten can share one room. Currently, urban areas suffer more compared to the countryside, where potentially self-produced food is available.

Keeping young people and young adults at home is difficult, and there are concerns in Kenya that young adults are experiencing increasing pregnancies and HIV infections. 

Richer people are in a better position, while poorer people are in a worse position. Every new day is a blessing to them, they pray every day and hope the epidemic will end.

2. Currently I can’t meet my friends and other people or travel. Almost all the luxuries of life are now cut off. I am glad that I can help people as a nurse in the front line. It's challenging, but I'm hopeful that we can manage this. 

3. The Kenyan government will seek to disseminate information, take care of front-line workers and seek to support the vulnerable. The country has imposed regulations, such as a curfew (at night), urging isolation and banning movement in cities that are epidemic areas. Efforts are being made to test people and to find out the chains of infection. People are following the guidelines loosely, but the government is doing its best.

 

4. We can learn many things. The level of health care preparedness must be even better. The availability of tools and procedures need to be improved. Life can change at any time, and we need to be able to adapt to it. We have also found that life goes on in spite of everything.

Hanna, Innovation Advisor, Oslo, Norway

1. 12.3. In Norway, schools, kindergartens, gyms and hairdressers, among others, were immediately closed. The use of public transport was recommended only for those working in socially critical tasks. Patients working with patients were banned from traveling abroad.

The “Hytteforbud” - a ban on staying outside their own home in cottages and holiday homes - apparently upset a large number of Norwegians who wanted to combine teleworking and skiing. On the other hand, those who defied the ban received a flurry of criticism. When the spread of the virus came under control with the first restrictions, the mosquito ban was lifted on 20.4. However, the government’s call is to give up leisure travel, even though overnight stays are no longer fined. 20.4. kindergartens were opened, and it is the turn of the lower primary classes on 27.4.

Most Norwegian companies are small in size, and the financial distress has been real for many. The value of the Norwegian krone and the price of oil, an important raw material, have been collapsing. The economy fell by a historic 14 percent in March alone. On the other hand, I also need to remember that the Norwegian state already has a strong economy and, unlike other countries, also has an oil fund of EUR 1 trillion, officially called the government pension fund.

There is still a lot of outdoor activity in Oslo and nearby forests, and this has been encouraged, taking into account safety distances. Osloers make great dodge moves, and safety distances have been easy to maintain. There have been almost summer temperatures in Oslo in recent days, and I noticed that now young people in particular have started to gather in gangs. I saw the opera house in the nearby waterfront area as the guards lined up people and broke up the distance.

2. I can keep a “personal office,” and that’s a privilege now - as well as the fact that work in general continues normally remotely. A corona testing clinic in a residential area has been set up on the ground floor of our nearly vacant office building, and it feels like a concrete crisis situation. According to a new study, 2/3 of Norwegian teleworkers now consider “joggebuksers” as their home uniform, and so do I.

At first, grief struck when it dawned on me that I could not go to Rovaniemi with my family for Easter or possibly for a long time. I watched my nephew’s christening on video.

I planned and I create the rhythm of everyday life anyway. Now new routines have included morning walking on a nearby hill and a boxless lunch including a piece of paper. I am cautious because of the underlying, avoided shopping for groceries at these times and ordered food directly to their door. Video calls with family, friends and co-workers are important moments. Together with my boyfriend, we have tried to keep the weekends even more special days, for example, we have invested in several brunch dishes at home and went on “ut på tur” forest trips in the local way.

3. I think the government did the right thing and acted quickly in changing its strategy from limiting the epidemic to “suppressing” it, in order to secure health care capacity. Actions have begun to bite, and the person currently ill in Oslo is no longer infecting less than one person. The infection rate is 0.88 in my hometown and 0.65 across the country. Government communications have highlighted how everyone is struggling here - a frequently repeated keyword has been “talkoot,” dugnad. The Prime Minister has also held a press conference on the corona directly for children. 

A state aid package for companies, up to 80% or 90% compensation when revenues have fallen by 100% or operations have had to close, has proved problematic, although the principle is effective. With the current model, it is possible that the smallest of all companies will be completely without aid due to the calculation method. 

I have the Smittestopp app on my phone. However, it has been heavily criticized, and without denying its usefulness, it also ponders itself, as the app only warns you after you have been with the patient for at least 15 minutes at close range. At the moment, I cannot imagine how such a situation would happen to a citizen who complies with restrictions. However, in the future, when society and jobs, for example, are opened up, I believe it will be useful.

4. We learn to appreciate and recognize how we humans are truly adaptable and innovative in a crisis situation. And companies! Through my work I have noticed new operating and business models, how they are thinking, for example, by means of the service created.

We learn about sustainability, working towards a common goal and benefits in the long run. Solidarity, for example in the local Tori.fi or Finn.no, has a whole hugely active section to help with the Korona era. That work spirit, dugnad, and how it really produces results. 

Dinal, Safari Guide, Predator Researcher and Tourism Entrepreneur, Colombo, Sri Lanka

1. In Sri Lanka, the first person to become infected with the coronavirus was a Chinese tourist, the case was diagnosed in January. The first local infections were found in early March when people came back to Sri Lanka from abroad. The airports were closed in mid-March, and a curfew was imposed on the entire island on 20 March. 

Many companies have had to put a patch on the door. Trading on the stock exchange was suspended when prices plummeted.

Due to the situation, many have been left without a livelihood. Low-paid workers, pensioners, freelancers and those paid on a day-to-day basis have suffered the most. For many, life has become a struggle. Domestic violence and depression problems have increased.

On the other hand, in many families, people are now doing more and more things together, such as taking care of the garden, putting on food, or playing and playing. People have also started growing their own vegetables and herbs. 

People are hopeful that the spread of the virus will slow down and return to normal life in a couple of months. However, I find this unlikely.

More than 400 confirmed cases have been identified, but in reality it is not known how many infections actually exist. It is therefore uncertain how long the crisis will continue in Sri Lanka. 

2. My daily life and livelihood have changed a lot. My life is usually traveling (i.e. research work and guide work) and office work at home. For some reason, I only work from home The situation has greatly affected my livelihood. 

3. I think that our country has responded quite well to the crisis, except that early warning signs and advice from experts and opposition leaders were not heeded. 

Our biggest failure is that there are major shortcomings in testing. According to healthcare professionals, we are able to admit only 500 patients to intensive care (the country's population is about 21 million). The number of intensive care units and ventilators may be insufficient.

4. World leaders were much more concerned about the threat of a nuclear war-type threat and completely ignored a pandemic of this size that affects all things in the world. This opens the eyes of many and helps in making contingency plans. It seems to me that the coronavirus will not subside until a vaccine or other drug is invented.

Liisa, School Assistant, Busselton, Western Australia

1. At the end of March, people panicked that if they were isolated and the curfew would take effect. People bought meat counters empty and rice, flour and toilet paper out of stores for weeks. Police had to guard offensive behavior in shops. Now everything has started to recover in stores.

In Australia, state and county borders are closed. The police control the borders and you can only get through for a valid reason for work, etc. Foreign flights have almost all been canceled. If someone comes to the country from abroad or on a cruise ship, they will have to be quarantined for two weeks. The state pays for transportation, a two-week hotel and all food and beverages for both foreigners and Australian citizens. Restaurants, cafes, theaters and the like are also closed, but shops and pharmacies are open. Take away food is available.

In Western Australia, however, no new cases of Korona have been reported for many days, so restrictions are beginning to be relaxed a bit. 

In Australia, the dream is to live in a detached house. A small or large garden has now been useful. Children will not have access to the playgrounds, but they can play on the trampoline or other equipment in their own backyard.

2. I joogannut through the zoom and jogging a lot, because you can go out normally.

I work at a primary school in the school as an assistant. Working hours have been normal, but the structure of teaching has changed. Schools have been open, but only the children of working parents, especially health care, police and teachers, have been encouraged to come to school. Teachers have taught remotely those children who have been at home. We school assistants have taught children who have been to school.

There is currently a fall holiday here, but when 28.4. schools start again, everyone is allowed to bring children to school, at least in primary and secondary school. If parents want to keep their children at home, it is also suitable, as teachers provide distance learning in any case. Vocational schools and colleges do not normally open at that time.

3. In my opinion and public opinion, Australia has managed to deal with the crisis very well. Especially in Western Australia, the prime minister’s popularity has grown tremendously thanks to outspokenness and honesty. 

The state pays A $ 1,500 in support to entrepreneurial staff over two weeks. The state helps workers keep their jobs sooner than they pay them unemployment benefits. Restaurants, bars and many businesses do suffer. Many may have to close their doors permanently, but in general, people have a very positive mind at the moment when the first panic is over.

4. We could learn to take other people into account more and help those in need.

Perhaps we value everything more now, such as family, friends, and health. Many parents have spent more time with their children and talked more often on the phone with the elderly. People’s mental health has received more attention in terms of how important it is alongside physical health.

We value health workers more and their important role in society. 

 

A big warm thank you to all four of my friends for taking the time to respond and participating in the post <3

Humphrey Agevi