As you know, we´re in the process of selling our homes, quitting our jobs and hopping on our motorcycles to ride from Norway to South Africa - and back. But now that people in every part of the globe are threatened by the coronavirus, what will happen? We’re in the third week of living under the most restrictive measures held by the Norwegian government in peace-time. All schools, kindergartens and non-essential businesses have been closed since March 12th, to "flatten the curve”, that is slow down the rate people get infected by the coronavirus. This situation is, of course, not news to any of you as all over the world people's lives are put on hold.
The virus doesn´t frighten our own lives - we are both healthy and fit. If we catch it, which we most probably will, we will most likely experience mild symptoms. If in a worst-case scenario we end up bedridden for two weeks, we´re healthy enough to recover from that too. It´s our loved ones that we worry about. The weaker among us, the elderly and chronically ill with compromised immune systems. The influx of patients to hospitals due to coronavirus will be near-impossible to handle if these measures are not put in place. At least, that is what our government has decided - our neighbor country Sweden holds a different view. It will be interesting to see how the way each country's way of responding to the crisis will affect the outcome. What this means for us personally, is that Kenneth spends his days at home. The coffee shops he works at are either closed or open for takeaway only.
So far over 289,000 people have been put on leave from their jobs, and he’s one of them. That number is relevant now, but in a day it will be obsolete. We will notice this financially, but others are far worse off than us. The government has measures in place to try and secure businesses, so hopefully, we’ll all get through this somehow.
My situation is different though. As I am a nurse, I am still at work. No home office for nurses, at least not the ones on the floor. We have yet to be overwhelmed by patients at my hospital, but it feels like the quiet before the storm. We’re training on procedures and preparing ourselves for a sudden rush of patients. It’s very interesting to be part of it all, in the front lines so to speak. But the stories told by my colleagues in Italy and Spain seem very challenging to handle. Remember the guys in Helm´s Deep, preparing to be invaded by Saruman´s armies? That’s my current state. But what about our trip? We plan to leave the country and travel by motorbike from Norway to South Africa. In November. There are a lot of borders on the way, and they are mostly closed at the moment. By the current rules, we would be placed in quarantine for 14 days for every country we passed into. Some countries might not accept wild camping as a quarantine (however illogical) and demand we stay in a hotel - or even place us somewhere in cohort isolation. If our options are being restless in quarantine in country x, y, or z we may as well just stay home. Hopefully, the situation will be different in November, and we will be able to leave.
If we planned to leave now, I wouldn’t be permitted. Health personnel are forbidden to leave the country during this crisis. For now, these restrictions apply out April, but might be prolonged. There’s no jumping over this hurdle, we’re going to have to go through it. The trip will have to be postponed if need be - the coronavirus will not respect our dreams or plans.
We worry about how this crisis will affect Africa.
Their health systems are lacking, to put it mildly. Their normal situation is being forced to reuse personal protective equipment, like gloves. How could they handle this pandemic? It will be interesting to see if their experience with the Ebola virus will be of help. They don’t hold a chance without our help. Hopefully, we will be able to send them some of our equipment when the curve is heading the right way and we’re on our feet. Also interesting are the social ramifications of this. We hear there’s a growing rate of scapegoating, where foreigners are being harassed and for bringing the virus.
Now we’d like to hear how this crisis is affecting your lives? Are you in home-office now, or have you lost your job? Or perhaps you´re also still at work because your profession is considered critical? - Pia