Coronavirus beginnings in Switzerland
It all started back in February, when the first Coronavirus news entered local newspapers. No one really cared at that time, neither I did. I had not even read the news about Chinese situation, which shows how ignorant I was, similar to the other 90% + of population, I suspect.
For me personally, it all started on February 28th, together with a Google Zurich wide message, something among these lines: ”Google employee tested positive for COVID-19. If you feel more comfortable, we have no objections for you to work from home”. It went immediately to the press. Obviously, it did not mean I started my isolation. Over the next 2 weeks the message tone gradually increased, from ”We’re okay if you work from home” through ”Recommended”, ”Strongly recommended”, and finally ”Mandatory” and office closure on 18th of March.
How does Switzerland handle Coronavirus
Switzerland, despite neighbouring European epicentre of coronavirus – read: Italy, and having one of the highest ratio of infected/10 000 inhabitants, implemented measures that could be an example for other countries. First, everyone can get tested, even smallest symptom qualifies you to test and be sure that you are/or are not spreading the virus. This makes entire country to panic less than others, well, especially when I compare it to my home country Poland, which does almost no testing and manipulates the results. There is new normal for all of us at the moment, but it is not required to lock down everybody entirely. Zurich’s streets are still filled with people who are taking a walk, a run or are just enjoying the sun. Everyone does it following government procedures of minimum distance keeping. Second, you can find a disinfecting gel at the entrance of every grocery shop, and yes – you have to use it, otherwise you cannot enter the store. Gloves, masks and other precious materials are also widely available here. Third, Swiss health care system is considered to be one of the best in the world, and it really is, despite its private structure. Everyone in the country is insured by themselves, employer or, in the case he cannot afford it, by the country.
I am here. I have a job. I am blessed
I have been always dreaming about ‘freelance’ type of job. Design, media, travel – you name it. Dreaming is a good word, because I never had a courage to start my own business idea and progress with it. I jumped into the corporate world already during my graduation and never stopped it since then. One month from now I will celebrate my 4th ”Googleversary”. If you asked me 3 months ago what would it mean to me, I would say nothing, and inside me feel like a looser who, despite being successful inside this giant machine structure, never tried to pursue her own start-upy thought.
Looking at what is happening outside, businesses being closed, my friends being fired, I feel like my biggest luck of 2020 is that I work at Google. I can stay safely at home, reduce my workload if required, even take paid 4 weeks carers leave if I need to. This is a big luxury in those uncertain times.
My another blessing is Switzerland itself. I am not entirely locked down at my flat, having permission to still go for a walk, sit by the lake, go to the mountains. I can be and function like I used to. Cannot imagine myself being based in a big city agglomeration now.
How am I handling it. My Swiss Coronavirus Journal
My perception of the situation has been gradually changing, from a total ignorance, through artificial empathy, to reading detailed news every single day.
I have been reading what Olga Tokarczuk had to say about the isolation, and this is something that I feel alike.
”I don’t regret they closed cinemas and shopping malls. It’s completely neutral for me. I am only worried about those, who lost their jobs. When I learnt about the preventive quarantine, I felt something like a relief and I know that many people feel similar to me.”
Just like her, I missed those childhood days, when I could do nothing except just watching a world around me. I missed that time when I could just sit with the beloved person and talk for hours, without a pressure to do. My inner introvert has such a good time now. My inner FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is barely smouldering.
Maybe it is a new normal what we are experiencing? Maybe we will slow down for good and never come back to this hectic life we all created? I am curious to see what will be happening and how will it shape the new beliefs, the new lifestyles.
This post is also available in: Polish