KOCHI: Malayalis in Sweden are busy these days learning valuable tips from their family and friends back home in Kerala on procedures to be followed for staying indoors and how to deal with isolation blues. As Sweden continues to remain relaxed on enforcing lockdown measures amid increasing number of Covid-19 cases in the country, the worried lot of Malayali families in the Nordic country have gone in for a self-imposed lockdown learning from their family and friends in Kerala to stay safe and prevent virus spread.
As per the latest stats on Covid-19 cases in Sweden, 887 people have died from 10,151 cases detected positive for the viral infection. In the last 14 days, 6,704 new positive cases were detected in the country.
“In Stockholm, life is normal and people are still out in pubs, parks and malls. The government is yet to bring in stringent lockdown measures. On the one side, the number of Covid-19 deaths and cases is increasing and on the other, no concrete step is in place to contain the spread. Media in Europe has been highly critical of the relaxed attitude of Sweden,” said Alappuzha native Renjith Murali, who has been living in Stockholm for the past 10 years running his own IT firm.
He said Malayalis in Stockholm have gone for strict social distancing life after seeing what’s been followed in Kerala and other places. “We are into work from home and have been avoiding public spaces for the past one week,” he said. IT entrepreneur Arun Mohan from Thiruvananthapuram, who is settled at Stuvsta in Stockholm, said that majority of the Malayalis in Stockholm have opted for self-imposed isolation fearing spread of virus. Swedish Kerala Association’s cultural secretary Megha Mohan said there were around 400 Malayalis in Stockholm alone.
“When we compare what’s happening in Kerala with regard to lockdown measures from Malayalam news channels, the situation in Sweden here is so relaxed despite spiralling cases of Coronavirus infection. Here people are yet to take the pandemic seriously,” she said. Bharath Biju Kumar from Thrissur, who is doing his post graduate engineering course at KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, said though the university has shut classes, there is still no restriction on movement or grouping.
“There are over 300 Indians in my batch comprising around 40 Malayalis. Considering the gravity of the situation, we have imposed a set of restrictions on ourselves to ensure social distancing. Local communities are still divided on enforcing restrictions We only go out for emergency grocery purchase. We see a lot of people socialising in restaurants and pubs,” he said.