Friday, 13 March 2020

Coping with the Coronavirus Threat in Slovenia...

 Today is a miserable wet day here in Ljubljana. This morning I was sat in my room reflecting on the first few verses of Psalm 37 which say: Do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither like green plants they will soon die away. Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Now I know that a pandemic is not a person but I think the principle remains the same. We shouldn't fret because this time will pass. Instead, we should be trusting God and he will give us a hope and a future. It was at that moment that I looked up out of my window and saw that amongst all the greyness and the bare tree branches, one tree is in full blossom. To me this was a great picture and reminder that although the world around us may be falling apart, God always keeps his promises that these days will pass. His promises of hope and blessing are the anchor that we should be holding on to. We can trust him because he always has and always will do everything that he has promised.

It's in that perspective that I want to explain what the situation here is like. Since Slovenia is a such a small country it's not making any news headlines, but in case you have forgotten, we border Italy. Until a couple of days ago there was still a lot of cross border movement! The situation here has changed a lot and very quickly within the last week or so. The first case was confirmed on 4th March and as of today (13th March) the number is 141 with thankfully no deaths. Now in absolute numbers this doesn't seem too high but that's 67.8 cases per million. In context, China is currently on 56.1 and the UK is on 12. 

This isn't all my food...
Whilst the likelihood of me catching it is still quite low, I am feeling the effects of it. Some of my friends and family in the UK have had to self isolate (although as far as I know none of them have it) and our flat had our own mini panic earlier in the week although it turned out to be a false alarm. We haven't been panic buying (although one of my housemates did insist that we have enough toilet paper (!)) but we've tried to make sure that we are stocked up and prepared for the almost inevitable lockdown. 
Lots of restrictions have now been put in place. Gatherings of more than 100 people are banned which meant that a youth conference due to happen tomorrow has had to be postponed until October. All schools and universities have been closed and it looks like further measures will soon be introduced. Yesterday I got the news that all church activities have been cancelled at least for 2 weeks and that we should be restricting meetings with other people. Well, that's pretty much my entire job. Thankfully we live in the age of easy contact via the internet and I have arranged lots of Skype meetings, including my language lessons. That's the benefit of having a private tutor! I'm also very glad I have housemates, I think I may have started to go a bit mad if I was stuck in a flat by myself for 2 weeks! Don't get me wrong, we still have freedom of movement for the time being but I don't think much will happen. Everyone is very afraid of catching it and giving it to someone they love who may get very ill from it. There's definitely a sense of worry and guilt here.

My situation is not the same as those in Italy by any means but it feels like we're on the edge of that. To make things worse, Slovenia doesn't actually have a government at the moment. Please be praying for the leaders here that they will have wisdom in how to deal with the situation and that the health system would be able to cope with the massive pressure it will be put under. Most of all, please pray that we would remember not to fret but to trust God and in his promises!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Settling Back in the UK...

It's hard to believe that it's been a month and a half since I last posted and nearly a month since I arrived back in the UK. Many o...