With the outbreak of COVID-19 and it being identified as a pandemic, international students in Denmark plans on leaving as Denmark closes borders.
By Ryan Li
More on coronavirus: Life inside Børglum Kollegiet
Right after the WHO making statements about the coronavirus and declared that “COVID-19 can be characterised as a pandemic” on 11 March, the Danish government responded instantly by suspending classes for 14 days and closing the borders. Regarding the situation, universities recalled their students abroad to ensure their safety.
Adeline Fung, an exchange student from Hong Kong, decided to leave Aarhus immediately when she heard from her home university.
“Hong Kong has more experience in handling pandemics, I think I can count on them more,” she thinks that Hong Kong’s experience in handling the SARS in 2003, a coronavirus that killed almost 800 people worldwide, would make a huge difference.
Difference on The Streets
As soon as Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen announced the closure of borders, Danish citizen certainly raised their awareness towards personal hygiene.
“Even though I think they (Danish citizens) will stay at home if they are sick, but I still cannot accept the fact that they don’t wear masks here,” Adeline says.
There were noticeably less people on the streets, but citizens here do not have the habit of wearing face masks to protect themselves and others, due to a mask law that prohibits mask wearing in public places.
It was completely different in Hong Kong, where all the people on streets have their masks on since the outbreak of COVID-19.
To minimise the number of trips outside, citizens stockpiled food items and daily necessities through buying a lot from the supermarkets. Toilet paper was among the most-purchased items in the stores, behind hand sanitisers, which were out of stock everywhere.
Adeline was not happy about the lack of supply of sanitisation products as she was not able to buy any. She was only able to get hand sanitisers and face masks through the parcel from her family.
To prevent from infecting the disease, Adeline would prevent unnecessary outings and stay away from crowded places and wears mask if she really wanted to head out.
“The only time I went out besides grocery shopping was drinking at the bar on my birthday. We picked a bar with small about of people and went in the afternoon to avoid contact with people.”
Aside from that, she would stay in her dormitory for online classes, and her daily activities were mostly cooking and playing games on her smart phone.
Due to the sudden increase of demand for plane tickets, the prices for a single trip this week from Copenhagen to Hong Kong skyrocketed from 3000 HKD (€350, $390) to 13000 HKD (€1530, $1670) overnight.
Even though Adeline has already booked her flight back to Hong Kong, she is still worried if her flights will be cancelled, just like Scandinavian Airlines and Finnair cancelling all the flights to Hong Kong until late March and late April respectively.
Updates on Denmark
With the continue increase in case numbers in Europe, Mette Frederiksen has just announced policies including closure of shops, only takeaways in restaurants and 10-person limit for gatherings.
Till 17 March, the coronavirus has infected 198,000 cases and caused almost 8000 deaths worldwide, with Denmark taking up 977 infections and 4 deaths.
Click here for more updates on the situation in Denmark (Danish)