FIRSTHAND COVID-19 REPORTS from Finland and other EU countries
hello internet! It’s Irina the Siberian
who’s gone international. I’ve decided to make a video telling you briefly how
Finland is currently affected by this COVID-19 pandemic and I’ve also
decided to make a few calls to my friends from different countries so that
they could tell what’s happening there so first of all I would like to tell
that just a week ago (today it’s March 15), so on March 8th I was traveling
from France and then a couple of days on the week before I was in our French
office and back then everything was still pretty calm.
The only difference I’ve noticed is that in our French office people were
recommended not to..you know.. do this French kiss on 2 cheeks and also
whenever I would try to automatically shake someone’s hand, they were like “Oh!
We’re not allowed to shake hands anymore!” and, you know, it’s a habit, so it’s really
difficult not to do that and once I noticed that I shook one guy’s hand and
then I’ve noticed that like 30 seconds later when he though that I’m not watching,
he has applied the disinfectant. So, yeah.. So, that was the only differences I’ve
noticed, but then on March 8th I took a flight from Paris to Riga and then from
Riga to Helsinki and to be honest I was expecting that somebody will be checking
something, but no! There was absolutely no checks anywhere, neither in Paris, nor in
Riga, nor in Helsinki. So I got home and went to work the next day. So, back then
France had 700 cases and Finland had just a few. Then a few days passed and we
have received this unofficial communication from HR that it’s okay to
work remotely for two weeks if your manager gives you a blessing to do so. So
I kind of self-managed myself and started doing home office starting from
Thursday, and now on Saturday I know that we have finally received the official
communication that if you can, you should work remotely and that our IT
departments have been mobilized to ensure that all the connections are
working, because, I guess, it’s going to be a huge load having so many people
working remotely. Also, my friends from other companies said that they haven’t been
told to work remotely but probably tomorrow, when it’s Monday, they will
finally make some decisions about it and the only thing which has been happening
so far is that they noticed that the companies are, you know, preparing to send
a lot of people to work remotely. At my mom’s work, I think, they have a bit of a
conservative way of working, so working remotely is not really a thing there. I
mean some people do it from time to time but only if they have a good excuse. But
now she said that they’re preparing the special agreements where…. which you need
to sign, before you are allowed to work remotely So, I think, tomorrow she will go
to work, sign that agreement and will start working remotely as well. How else the
lives are affected? Well, my friend had a vacation in Egypt booked in early April.
That one is cancelled, but she got a full refund. My gym has closed down for a
couple of weeks until the end of March that made me a little bit happy… because
now I have a legit excuse not to go to the gym and then what comes to shops –
this is crazy! I mean, you know, all those jokes about the toilet paper are no
jokes! The shelves are empty! I’m gonna show you the footage I made this morning.
Just a couple of days ago you could still find some toilet paper, but now
it’s gone, which is a mystery to me! I mean, I understand noodles,
but why toilet paper? What is wrong with the regular reserves that you had? I
don’t think the shops are closing down. and in the worst-case scenario every
Finnish home is equipped with this bidet shower, which I have shown in my video
“Genius Finnish inventions”. Here is the link So the toilet paper obsession is a bit of a mystery to me What else? Well,
Finland is not closing down schools or kindergartens yet. They say that it’s
because they need nurses and policemen and firemen at work,
and how they gonna go to work if the children are home? But I recently talked
to my friend from Germany and there the schools are closed for 5 weeks, but
people who cannot work remotely… for them the state has arranged this special
schools where they can take their children So if you work as a policeman,
as a nurse or a doctor etc etc there is a place to take your child to. But for
majority of people they just need to stay at home for 5 weeks. I’m not sure
why Finland wouldn’t do it the same way… Okay, so let’s make calls to my friends and
see how the situation looks in their countries and after that I will also show you
some footage from the Finnish shops, which I made this morning. So, first I’m
gonna call the representative of the country, which has been affected the most
in Europe – Italy. I’m gonna call Andrea. He’s an Italian
singer who is originally from Italy but he’s based in Helsinki now and here he
has his own band and I will leave the link to his band’s YouTube channel and Instagram
account in the description. So, if you’re interested, you can go and check it out.
Okay, so let’s start! You are the first one who I am calling to. So, you are based
in Helsinki but originally you’re from Italy, correct? – That’s right!
– Yeah. So, let’s
talk about Helsinki first. Have you been affected by this pandemic somehow? I mean
have you noticed that the shops are too empty? Have you had any events cancelled? Well, myself, at least here in Helsinki, I
haven’t yet seen too much of..you know.. alarmism of people freaking out, except
empty shelves that you see i the supermarket.. toilet paper… Still wondering why the toilet paper is the
first thing that gets out of stock
– Yeah, nobody knows… – Anyway, gigs-wise… events are cancelling, yeah, even
though, if I’ve understood correctly, it’s forbidden to host events where more than
500 people are attending, but people are already starting to cancel shows,
where there wouldn’t be that much people so even though the government is not
giving any kind of, you know, limitations, the people are taking it already
– Did you have anything for you cancelled yet? -Not yet but many of my
friends – yes.
– Yeah, and what about Italy? – What do your friends and family are
telling? – Oh, well.. in Italy the situation is quite bad. I mean, people
are forced to stay home they cannot even get out. They can get out for a few
reasons: one is if they have to go to supermarket and then if you have to go
to the pharmacy and every time you get out you need to have a sort of self-certificate where you write where are you going and what you’re gonna do.
So that anytime some policeman can stop you and if you don’t have this
paper where you explain where you go, you might get a ticket or a fine or… I’ve heard
even some people, they risk jail because they have been doing some
gathering with other people and weren’t supposed to – So, all the offices and all the schools
everything is closed?
– Absolutely everything! – And do you know if people were
told to work remotely? I think that whenever it’s been possible,
people have been working remotely and for example, I have my brother’s
kids and next week they will have some school lessons remotely, so from home. I
don’t know through Skype or I don’t know what kind of… yeah, so, even schools are
starting to get this kind of services – Yeah, well, that’s good.
But everyone has an access to food, right? so.. there is no interruptions with food
– Yeah-yeah, exactly! People…they have done like also like like I’ve seen
here in Finland, when they just buy a lot of stuff but actually the authorities, from
what I’ve heard, they suggest not to do that because anyway they will keep replenishing
the supermarkets, they will be kept, you know, replenished. So i saw some friends
posting pictures from supermarkets. They have
toilet paper in Italy, yeah, they have no problem with that, so, yeah. But the
problem is that they have to stay home so I talked with some friends and
they’re going nuts, you know, like they don’t know what to do anymore and that’s the hardest
part, but you know what they have …what they’re doing in Italy? I’ve seen some videos of
people – they gather on balconies, so, in the cities they start clapping the hands,
and then someone starts playing some violin or some instrument and everyone
listens. Or there are some people singing a song, you know, and the whole
neighborhood is outside listening, which sounds kind of cool, you know, it’s like
this gives back the sense of unity and I mean, they’re all in the same… they all are
having the same problem so…. – Yeah, I’ve seen those videos! It’s really impressive! Okay, I think, these are like the main things I wanted to ask. Thanks a lot for
– No problem! – Hiii! Thank you so much for taking my call! I know you’re a busy lady! So, you live in Germany, in Berlin, right? – Yeah, I live in the center of Berlin and
it’s kind of serious now… We’ve always told ourselves… like… I was
saying to my boyfriend every time – once we know someone who knows someone,
who is infected by the virus it gets serious and close too us, and the day came
yesterday where I found out that like a friend of a friend tested positive for the
virus and now we know. Oh, dear, it’s gonna be close to us very soon. So
now we’re getting serious about not going out as much anymore – I’ve heard that they’ve
closed down the schools in Germany, right? – Yes, well, it got announced on Friday, I think, and as of Tuesday they
will start to close the schools but like the childcare will also
close on Tuesday. So, as of Tuesday everything will be closed for 4 weeks.
– What about the children of the
nurses, doctors, policemen, firemen? Well, yeah, they said, they said that there is
emergency care but once they find out that someone in the emergency care
also has the virus, they will also close the emergency care, and what happens
after that…. nobody really knows. – Okay, just the last question – how about the shops? Do you
have enough food and stuff?yes it is – Well, yeah, food is not really a problem, but the challenging
thing is really to get toilet paper like a thing is in every other country as
well. And they’ve started to forbid gatherings with more than 50 people and restaurants have basically closed down apart from restaurants that
can guarantee a table like…. table space between the two tables of at
least 1,5 meters. Then they are allowed to stay open So yeah, it’s getting serious.
So, we need to protect our parents like my my mom’s boyfriend is 70 now and
he’s really worried. That’s why that’s why we have to stay away from
them, so that they don’t get sick I’m also trying to stay away from my friends,
because I’ve been traveling recently so just in case. I don’t have any symptoms,
but, you know, – Yeah, I know. It’s annoying, because obviously in these 4 weeks –
it’s when, you know, that’s when you need child care and you need the help of your
parents and grandparents but that’s exactly what they can’t do at the moment.
So, it’s us at home and we try to…. I joined the Facebook group where there’s like
ideas for parents who are stuck at home with their children and they just give you
advice on how to make your own play-dough and like stuff that you can do with your
kids, that doesn’t involve TV – Yeah.. we’ll see. It’s only day, so…
– It’s only what? Ah, it’s only day 2! Yeah, I guess, we’ll all learn to entertain ourselves in these 2 weeks Exactly! I mean it’s quite crazy… like…Britain doesn’t take it
seriously at all. Like, today they had the half-marathon in Bath going on and
stuff like that…and everyone just gathered like, so many people ..I mean.. I don’t know…
– Yeah, well, we’ll see what happens in a week – Okay, thank you so much for taking the call!
– ah, it’s okay
– Bye, Irina! – So, hey, you’re based in Paris, France, correct?
– Yes – Could you tell how this whole corona situation has affected your life?
– Well, it’s my second day at home So it’s too early to say how
I feel about it, but I’m sure it’s gonna be so different in one month
that is coming, because the lockdown was announced last night and it’s supposed to last for 1 month.
– Last night was what? The 14th of March, right??
– Yeah – So, previous week you were still working as
normal, and starting from Monday you were all are supposed to, work remotely, at
the place where you work, correct? – Not supposed to, we are advised, but there are measurements of how we’re supposed to work. Many people would still
go to work, but there are many people who would on rotation, so they would
reduce the number of people who would be at the same office at the same time.
– I see….And what about the schools? Do you know if they’ve closed down the schools?
– Yes All of the schools and universities,
kindergartens, they’ve been shut off I think either Thursday night or
Friday night after President’s speech, so for them
I think it goes on until some day in April but even in the same speech… for
workplaces, it’s at discretion and review of each work place. It’s recommended to
work from home but it’s not compulsory – All right, and all the nightclubs and
restaurants they’re shut down, right? – Yes, every service business is shut down from, I think, 12AM last night. And it was a sudden decision It was decided last night
and it went in place last night as well – And what about the food?
Is it easy to get food in the supermarket? Is there enough for everyone? – Well, the only thing that I know is it’s the toilet paper and the hand wash, sanitary products rather than food food seems to be available and
everything is being restocked at the moment – So it should be alright, but
for these 2 items I know that they’ve been missing for some time – Yeah I think
it’s the same in every country. Have you had any trips or plans canceled
because of all of this? – Yes, I was supposed to be on vacation this week, in the Alps in France for a music festival and it’s cancelled because of the virus and they, in fact, advised everyone to still go, because the ski slopes are open, but because of the sudden news that we had last night from the French government, now all the
ski slopes are going to be closed as well so there’s a lot of people that are
very upset, because it’s a huge festival and people have come from abroad.
Many of them are stranded to go home and they can’t even go skiing.
– Wow, okay, thank you! So, you are based in Sweden, but originally you are from the Czech Republic, right?
– Correct! – So, tell me how corona virus has affected your life in Sweden so far? – It hasn’t. At all. No. I mean, I can work from home anyway because I do research. – And did they tell you to do that? To those who prefer to be in the office? – Well you can work from
home like officially, according to the Institute Like… they told us today
that if you want to stay at home you can but that hasn’t really been…it has been like that since before corona virus -But they haven’t encouraged you to stay at home yet? – Well, they do encourage you
to stay at home but it’s not a policy – And what have the shops? Do you see people panicking? – Everything is open! Nothing’s closed! And we went for a walk to the woods on
Saturday and I just quickly went to Ikea because I wanted to return something and
there were so many people at IKEA! Like all of Sweden in that IKEA,
– For furniture?
– Yeah, I guess I don’t know I just went to, I returned the things
that I want to return, but there’s like people coughing and going out and, you
know, I guess, if you have a fever you stay at home, but right now what the
government is saying is if you have symptoms, then stay at home, but
it’s not reinforced in any way I’ve never seen like people wearing
these mouth masks – Have you noticed empty shelves and lack of toilet paper in the stores because apparently it’s all over Europe now – Yeah, kind of.. but it really depends on the shop it really depends…. like, I went
shopping, because I was afraid that everyone will buy out everything. I
bought toilet paper because I was worried that it would run out, that’s why I
did it as well …but otherwise… in some shops you have a lot of
food still left, mostly it looks normal and then you would have
like a couple of shelves where it’s conserved stuff and, you know, the stuff that lasts longer and then there’s a hole! It’s just gone, but then next to it you still
have something that’s still there, so it’s not like… I mean, it’s fine.
It hasn’t impacted me as well Like I said, I already worked from home
before it started and now it’s just like encouraged but the university hasn’t
closed schools haven’t closed, some of them have but it’s up to them to decide
if they want to close or not, but that’s not decided by the government. And
the university… actually, I think that’s quite stupid because our university is
open still and there’s a lot of students who have exams and these exams last like
five hours or something and they’re still going on and then you have like,
you know, 200 students locked in one room for like five hours and even though the
government is saying if you’re sick stay at home, in this case, I think, you know, if
you have a huge exam that you have been studying for for…, you know, like half a
year, you are gonna go even though you’re sick because you don’t want to miss it.
– I see. Do you know how many cases Sweden has right now? – Over a thousand.
– OVER A THOUSAND?! Are you for real?
– Yeah, most of them in Stockholm – Finland has less than 300
– 300 in Finland?
– Yeah, even less, I think and they have already closed down everything – Yeah, you know, Sweden has 1000 confirmed cases but
another thing is that they have stopped counting, they’re not testing people
anymore They’re only testing people who who are
in the risk group like old people and people who are already sick
and they’re also testing people who are working in the health care, but otherwise
if you’re just like a normal, you know, a regular person, who is healthy, then
you’re not gonna get tested even if you have fever Yet, the only thing that
has being affected is that the stocks are going down. – Probably not the stocks of the toilet paper companies – Yeah, and the pharmaceutical companies. My girlfriend’s working for a pharmaceutical company and I’m working
at the University, so our jobs are safe but I know that other people have
been affected by that. Yeah, people are probably gonna lose jobs and companies
are gonna go bankrupt and that’s really bad so I don’t think we’ve heard all of, it I think it’s just starting – I know one girl from the
UK, she’s in a travel industry and she’s been laid off already
– Oh no.. – Yeah, from our uni, actually, but, I don’t know, I think what once it’s, you know, has
calmed down, people will start traveling with an increased enthusiasm, because they
were locked down for a few months – Or maybe not, because maybe they
will realized that there is nothing bad about staying at home, you know?
– Ummm, I doubt that, but well see..
– Have you seen the picture where they showed air pollution in China in
Beijing, I think, before the corona virus and and during corona virus?
The pollution has decreased, and the air…. suddenly you can
breathe, so it has had a very good impact on the environment and, you
know, people are not flying and the factories, at least in China, I mean you
don’t really have any factories here because everything is manufactured in
China, but the factories closed down and it has had a positive impact on the
environment. – Yeah, there is always a silver lining, I guess – Yeah, but it’s always like that, you know. I mean sometimes
not always, but it tends to be like that either it’s good for the environment or
is good for the economic growth and this has been coronavirus have been good for
economic growth, I mean has been BAD for economic growth and it’s been good for the environment. – And what comes to Czech Republic, how is the situation there? – It’s the complete opposite from Sweden. Like people are panicking and people are going crazy and
the government is going crazy and people can still go to work but
they’re not allowed to do anything else like all the restaurants are closed or
the shops are closed – The borders are closed, I heard – Yes, the borders are closed! So I can’t get home, I mean I could technically but there are no planes,
unless I drive, you know, I can’t really get home like I am a Czech citizen,
so I could go home but then I would not be allowed to leave and go back to
Sweden, and I live in Sweden so I’m just gonna stay here But people are
completely crazy over there and they’re like making their own mouth masks, and my mom said that people are like angry , you know if you cough a little bit
people like will come to you and get really angry at you and people
are taking really seriously, which is completely the opposite from Sweden, where people like: “Okay, well, whatever, we’re just gonna go shopping to IKEA” – Do they have a lot of cases there?
– They have less than Sweden. I don’t know how many, maybe around 300… yeah, I think like 300 Sweden have like 1000 confirmed in the
Czech Republic has much less but in Sweeden they’re saying that they’re not
closing schools, because if you get infected then it’s going to be in clusters, so then
they would close if they see a cluster forming but Czech Republic is mental. – So, only the shops are closed and the pharmacies, you said? Open! I mean only the shops and pharmacies are open? – Exactly! Only the ships and pharmacies are open in the Czech Republic
– And schools? – No, schools are closed. My mom’s a teacher, so… which was really funny and um because she as a teacher had to go to school
today, but the students stayed at home and so the kids are learning from some
computer program. It’s a program called “It’s learning” I think it’s in many schools in the country – I think in Germany as well they just
gave them a lot of homework and probably they control it by internet somehow Okay, it’s Monday and the situation has drastically changed First of all – yeah, most of the people were strongly advised to work from home and my mom from the public sector, she was told, too. They have signed the agreements with them and now they’re
all working from home and if they need to come to the office, they should come
in turns, and they should not gather more than five people at the same time. Also
Finland took the situations really seriously today, so they closed down the
schools. At least the high schools and the universities. The elementary schools are still open but parents are told to try to keep their kids at home if it’s
possible. Also Finland has closed down the borders, so they’re only letting in
people with a residence permit or a citizenship and all Finns abroad have
been advised to return ASAP. So, looks like from today on we really are on a
quarantine. Officially Finland has about 300 cases but it must be way more
because they’re not gonna test you unless you have really visible symptoms and are
basically in a really bad condition, because if you just have mild symptoms
you’re advised to stay at home. So, I guess you can multiply 300 by… i don’t
know…. 30 I read somewhere. Anyway, 2 weeks have started and I really hope that since apparently every country is doing it now except the UK, everyone will sit at
home for 2 weeks, it will back off, just like it did in China, and in 2 or 3 or 4 weeks we can go back to normal! And meanwhile let me drink this ginger
shot for your health and wish you to to stay healthy and to learn some new skill
while you’re in this quarantine. Cheers! Some additional thought I have on this quarantine is that I think this quarantine will really make a lot of employers
more open to allowing home office because I know
that even now, there’s a lot of employers who have this very conservative approach.
I have a friend who works in a start-up in Germany… In an IT startup in Germany,
which is super against allowing people to work from home, even once a week. And
now I hear more and more stories when the employers are getting more and more
open towards this idea. So, I guess, in in every situation you can always find
something positive. We’ll see how this situation evolves, but this is it for now.
I will see in my next video, which is apparently, coming soon, because I have
not much else to do, but to film now So, see you soon! Bye! EGGS and SUGAR MILKS FROZEN FOOD TOILET PAPER DISINFECTANTS TOILET PAPER HAND SOAP FLOUR RICE and PASTA/NOODLES MINCED MEAT CANNED FOOD FRUIT and VEGGIES