The Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen announced the next phase of the reopening of Denmark in a press conference on the evening 6 of May.
On Monday the 11 of May, Denmark will be reopening all restaurants, shopping malls, libraries and school from years 5 to 9. However, with this reopening, there will be specific guidelines on how they are allowed to reopen.
Mette Frederiksen said in her press conference that “we are now entering phase two, and I expect it to be bigger then we dared to.”
Denmark has seen over 10,000 cases of individuals with coronavirus and 506 deaths, however, the spread of the virus and the Danish healthcare system is stable. Therefore, Denmark will be one of the first European countries to reopen again.
It is very clear from the Danish government that the main focus will be the specific guidelines the different businesses have to follow in order to have a safe reopening.
Maria Bøg works for the marketing divesting of the shopping centre Friis in Aalborg, Denmark:
“It is essential we follow the specific precautions when re-opening, and out of respect do not have an aggressive promotion as well”.
The reopening of restaurants can hopefully help local restaurants as their income lately only relies on takeaway orders.
“ I am positive we can re-open in a safe way. It is hard for the small businesses’ economy to be on lockdown. As long as we follow the safety guidelines I am positive this will succeed ”
Apart from Italy, Denmark was the first European country to announce a lockdown and now the first to re-open.
It has now been a few weeks since the Danish government reopened several institutions such as kindergartens, schools from class 0-5 and businesses like barbershops. However, parents remain worried about the risks of their children contracting the virus.
Local kindergarten in Aalborg, Denmark Tiziana is one of the kindergartens that had to adjust to the new rules.
In efforts to stop the virus from spreading, all toys and equipment have to be sanitised twice a day, resulting in extra staff being employed for maintaining the standards. Furthermore, the kids have to spend most of the days outside, including their lunch.
“I was very concerned about how this was going to work in the beginning, as we are dealing with children. It is still hard for some children to really understand the importance of social distance, even to the staff. But we are taking it day by day, and it comforts me we have some safety guidelines to maintain.”
-says Ninna Bøg who works in the kindergarten Tiziana.
video by Yasmin Sakki
However, several parents argue that it is too early to reopen public places, especially among adolescents. There is still a large number of children who are not attending the institutions, even though they are registered as absent at schools.
“Many of the parents are still scared of sending their kids to kindergartens. Therefore, we still see around 20% of the parents having their children at home. I feel very safe working here, as everyone respects the rules, we keep everything clean, it is justifiable that we are open.”
Several more people are forced to be home isolated, which puts a question on how this will affect the psyche on different individuals. On March the 23, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that the United Kingdom was on lockdown, and people need to respect the social distance, therefore they are only allowed to leave the house for the necessary. This leaves many individuals home only in company with themselves. In general study from 2018 show that 9 million people in the UK often or always feel lonely according to Co-op and the British Red Cross. Furthermore, that half a million older individuals can go five to six days a week without having any social communication.
Therefore in general loneliness is a factor several individual is battling, and these times with self-isolation only makes the situation more difficult. 87-year-old Lis Andersen from Aalborg, Denmark is describing her difficulty with the isolation.
“ I am used to being a very active and social woman, going to yoga, choir and dancing. Now I have to be isolated at home, not having any family or friends visiting and even staying away from my daughter’s 64-year-old birthday. I can feel this is making me very depressive and having an effect on my psyche” says Andersen.
Society needs to show awareness of the psychological consequences isolation can have. Psychologist, Ida Koch has researched for 25 years in the psychological outcome penal cells and isolations can have on people.
“It doesn’t take much for people to get isolation syndromes that can affect cognitively, emotionally and physically. The problem is that we do not know when the government will release the requirements – this can last for two months and it is a moment of uncertainty” says Koch.
Giving the matter awareness:
Koch points out regarding the older generation that isolation can cause cognitive problems, especially with their memory. Furthermore, the longer the isolation lasts the more serious the symptoms will get. The uncertainty and fear of the crisis can have a psychological effect on the human being; therefore Koch finds it necessary for people to reach out and the governments to discuss this matter.
“It would make sense to have some available information about the normal reactions, to not having the freedom of movement and being secluded from the outside world, so that people understand why they suddenly experience difficulty sleeping or are unsafe” says expert in psychology and isolation, Ida Koch.
The 31 March the UK government announced the possibility for a pregnant woman to have alternative options in these times. It is now possible for a woman to take the two abortion pills at home, instead of going to the clinic to have an abortion. The use of home abortion pills is a temporary plan, and a doctor needs to have had a conversation with the individual over the mobile phone. The new option for women has raised discussion, as there lay various options on abortion and whether the home pill is ethically right.
Over the past week’s non-profit charity supporters and campaigners like British Pregnancy Advisory Service, has been active in supporting the right to have an abortion at home.
Volunteer supporters have been very active on social media to give the dilemma and issue awareness doing these times. They have addressed Prime Minister Boris Johnson several times, in efforts to make it possible for women to take both pills at home.
” We try our very best in all areas of our work in regards to awareness. Firstly, to ensure individuals needing our services know where to find us. Also, we think it is so important to create a level of public awareness surrounding reproductive rights” Says Katie from BPAS.
Because of this awareness to the issue, the government choose to limit the risk of getting infected by avoiding woman to go to the clinic. In England, around 180.000 abortions are carried out each year, according to The Department of Health. Therefore, the new change in policy regarding abortion has made it much easier for women to have a safe home abortion.
What about Northern Ireland?
The dilemma still continues in Northern Ireland, as they normally do not carry out abortion patients are forced to travel to England to have an abortion. This law in Northern Ireland changed in October 2019 and was set to apply in society in April 2020. However, since the coronavirus situation Northern Ireland, have not established any alternative for the women.
Therefore, if the women of Northern Ireland wish to have an abortion, they are still forced to travel to England. Women of Northern Ireland have over the last couple of weeks been travelling with ferry and public transport to reach the clinics of England, in a time when governments are telling them to stay home. BPAS are sharing their concerns about women leaving their houses when governmental specifically advise everyone to stay home. BPAS is, therefore, fighting for the use of telemedicine abortion in the home space, so individuals do not need to travel the long journey.
If you still have the same income as usually one way to help the community through the outbreak, can be by supporting your local businesses that you usually go to every month. If we wish these small local businesses to still be upstanding after coronavirus, one way to show your support can be to donate the amount to your hairdresser, you normally would have paid for a haircut.
2. Help local neighbours
Even the small gestures matters. Therefore, if you do not financially have the opportunity to support local businesses, another way to help the community can be to help the local neighbours in your area. Ninna Bøg normally works in a nursery in Aalborg, Denmark but is home now due to the virus. She is showing her support by helping her 83-year-old neighbour, Lis with her daily tasks. This way Lis do not need to go to the grocery stores and pick up her medicine at the pharmacy, and risk a chance of infection, as Ninna is taking care of these tasks. This is one way people can help the local community, as it can be too risky for the older people to leave the house due to the lower chance of surviving the infection. Ninna is describing in the video, how they help each other in their community in Aalborg.
3. Spreading positive energy
Keep a positive mind-set and energy both in real life and on the online platform. In these times several individuals spend much more time online and are forced to communicate through the digital media, therefore it is relevant to keep a positive and hopeful energy online. In these days it is normal to be nervous about the outcome, but by spreading negativity online, will only cause unnecessary panic and drama. Therefore, try to post things online, which will lift people and help them through these hard times.
4. Ordering takeaway
Since it is not possible to go out for dinner and socialise, many restaurants now offer takeaway and delivery services. This is a great way for restaurants still to be financially going and keeping a social distance for the virus not to spread.
In the UK there has been an increase in 2020 of 9,8 % of food delivery compared to the same period in 2019, according to Statista. This indicates, that the Brits are supporting local takeaway and delivery services, and they might have a positive outcome of the crisis.
5. Make donations or volunteer work
A way to help the local community can be with making a donation to a charity you feel passionate for. Another way can be by doing volunteer work for NHS organisations, and if you have a special skill the local hospital need, you can always volunteer there.
Additionally, if you are well you can join the NHS volunteer responders, and help the healthcare system with simple tasks such as, delivering medicine and driving individuals from and to the hospital. You can even if not able to leave the house, sign up for the mobile service “check-in and chat”, to have a small chat with people who might feel lonely in these times.
Even though it is hard to meet in big groups, do not mean that we cannot come all together. Several countries have demonstrated how to create a sense of community, although some are isolated completely by themselves. All over the world, people have come together in this difficult time, in several different ways.
Here a Danish citizen from Copenhagen is every evening singing different songs to her neighbourhood. It is a way of showing that we are together in all these hard times and helps bring positivity within the community. Trine is reaching out to the general population and individuals that might feel alone in these times.
2. REMEMBER TO RELAX
In our busy lives and packed schedule many individuals find it hard to really find the time to relax. Most people are now working from home, which gives a greater opportunity to have more time to relax and enjoy the silence.
Several people are currently isolated by themselves, so this might be the time to pick up that book you have been wanting to read for months, or simply take a step back from the busy schedule we normally have.
3 STAY POSITIVE!
In these hard times, it can be easy to get caught up in our own negativities and depressive thoughts. Especially if you are isolated alone and only focuses on the negative information being brought by the media. In these difficult times, it is important to reach out to people and do things that will keep your mind positive and hopeful. Yoga can be a great tool to keep your mind relaxed and furthermore, create a positive mind-set.
4. GETTING THINGS DONE
Even though you are on quarantine and the county has shut down for a while, do not mean you cannot get things done for yourselves. The time is now to relax, but also if you have a special project you have always wanted to do, the time is now on your side. It can be small things as painting the garden furniture’s, to even bigger plans.
Allow yourselves to have plans and stuff you hope to get done while you are isolated. Getting things done and out of your mind, can leave with a sense of having achieved and accomplished something in these difficult times.
5. STAY HEALTHY!
Nobody knows how long this situation will be a reality for most people. In order to keep your mind healthy, it is important to also keep your body healthy. If not isolated, go for a walk or a run to empty your thoughts and keep up a good exercise rhythm.
But even if isolated open your windows and breath in the fresh air, and start doing home exercise, to maintain a healthy body and mind. Exercise, in general, is very good for your body but also mind-set, to be able to handle though situations and stay positive. Another way to stay healthy is to spend time cooking and baking healthy meals. Good nutrition is important in these times, where our movement is less than usual. Several experts find links between unhealthy diets and symptoms of depression. Therefore in these difficult times, it is important to maintain a healthy diet, in order to have a positive and clear mind.