10 August, 2022

A virus without crowns

VD photos: Ana Maria Gonzalez, Sweden.
By Diego Recinos

102 killed and over 3 infected thousand is the figure that throws up this weekend Swedish health authorities as a direct result of the COVID-19. The numbers are going to hike and although the Government took measures, there is a group of people who do not appear in the figures and they will be the ones who bear the indirect consequences of the virus.

Like every day, punctually, Susana applied to her job as a cook in one of the main hotel chains in the Swedish capital. The environment, unlike the past months it was calm and quiet.

It wasn't long before she received a call from her boss asking her to report to the office.. Susana had a bad feeling and felt a little “picket” in the stomach.

Arriving at the boss's office, their fears came true.

Side effects

Susana has lived for a year and ten months with her partner, her boyfriend Leonard, since she had 15 years. But nevertheless, they weren't always together.

Leonardo came to Sweden when he was 20 years and settled in the Nordic country. The distance cooled the relationship with Susana and over time, They separated.

during the separation, Leonardo had another partner and had a girl. But the relationship with the mother of his daughter did not work out and he returned to singleness. By chance of fate, he returned to Chile and the love between him and Susana was reborn.

But this time, when traveling to Sweden again, Leonardo did not fly alone; Susana came to her side. once established, Leonardo, his daughter and Susana started a family life. everything was going well. Even, Susana was able to get a part-time job in one of the major hotel chains in Stockholm. She was a waitress assistant.

Life smiled on the Chilean family. But nevertheless, in february this year, the world met a new tenant, that had arisen in distant China and was rumored to have arisen from contact with a bat, the Coronavirus.

But nevertheless, the virus was far away and everything was the same in the harsh Swedish winter. weeks later, the virus reached the old continent and spread like wildfire from northern Italy. A few days later, skiers whose winter tourist destination is the snowy Italian mountains, and the dozens of travelers brought the virus with them to Sweden.

A month later, COVID-19, It has already claimed more than a hundred lives and more than three thousand infected are registered. But while Susana's family watched what was happening in their homeland, they did not realize what was happening next to them. Well, the lack of knowledge of the language and the lack of access to the measures in their language did not allow Susana and Leonardo to see what was to come..

Sweden was one of the last countries in Europe to close its borders., schools and in taking containment measures that would affect the national economy. Therefore, life continued normal in the country. Which meant that Leonardo's daughter continued to go to primary school until one Thursday night, a high fever and a severe cough alarmed the family.

according to Susan, when the girl came back from primary school, slept more than usual, had no appetite and was listless. After several hours of rest, parents began to notice that the temperature began to rise, they called the help system but they couldn't communicate well. But, between their low level of Swedish and English they were able to ask for help. When being examined, the paramedics told the family to be calm.. It was nothing to be alarmed about.

After a few hours of restlessness, the girl was able to eat and stabilized. So they decided not to go to the hospital and believe what the paramedics said. Was it or was it not coronavirus? "Well, I really don't know and I think we don't want to know", Leonardo expresses.

What the paramedics understood was that it was a normal fever, it was nothing serious. The question arises in the air, why risk? the answer is frank: “The girl is already as if nothing was playing and well. If I had gone wrong, Well, something else would be. But the last time we went to the medical center, the first thing they ask me for is identification and personal number, I do not have. Then, reluctantly, they waited on us., but the invoice that they sent me later was not cheap and it will take me several months to pay it”.

Due to the illness of the minor, Susanna and Leonard, they had to take care of the girl and take time off from their jobs. Susana called her boss and explained the situation..

The boss had no problem granting permission. But nevertheless, on Monday when she was preparing to report to her job, the boss called her and ordered her to report because the management believed that she could be a contagion risk for her colleagues. Susana tried to explain her situation but understood that it was for security.

But nevertheless, a doubt assailed your mind, then, who is going to pay me? Your boss replied. "Do you have the 40% of your salary, why are you under work quarantine. It's the most we can do.", Susana tells us. Thus the family anxiety continued

Paying for the broken dishes

As Susana was in her work quarantine, State measures to contain the coronavirus were getting worse. The borders were closed, schools closed (the closure does not apply to 1st grade students. a 9no. degree), there is a reduction in transportation and concentrations greater than 50 people. further, Swedish Prime Minister, He asked the inhabitants to refrain from going out unless necessary and also asked companies to take measures not to spread the virus..

So many companies have asked their workers to work at home or simply not show up..

But in a troubled river, a fisherman gains, says a popular saying in Latin America. As there is no mandatory quarantine, everything is left to the discretion of the people. On the one hand, the streets of the main Swedish cities look semi desolate, food and service businesses are closed and many businesses have asked employees to stay home.

But on the other hand, there is a different face as many take this as time off and others have forced their employees to continue with their normal work routine.

The Swedish labor code has different types of employment contracts. Some, they enjoy a permanent and guaranteed salary. Which means that regardless of the conditions they will have their full salary 12 months of the year.

Others, depend on hours worked. Therefore, if you work, you receive a salary, on the contrary, no salary is received. Therefore, the forced stoppage and the decrease in supply and demand affects those who work for a salary based on their hours worked. There is also an invisible group, vulnerable, forgotten and exposed to any kind of labor violations; these are the undocumented workers.

The virus affects the crown

It is worth mentioning the strong impact of the coronavirus on the world economy. But nevertheless, local economies will bear the most serious consequences. How will the unemployed pay this month's bills?? It is a question that hangs in the air, because many of the employees do not have protection insurance and government offices cannot help immigrant employees without legal documents, who are exploited by employers.

This scenario creates uncertainty, what has made the crown (swedish currency) have a sharp drop in your price. Added to this is the number of layoffs made by companies.

After mandatory quarantine, Susana showed up to her job. The environment, unlike the past months it was calm and quiet. It didn't take long for her to get a call from her boss to report to the office.. Susana had a bad feeling and felt a small prick in her stomach.. Arriving at the boss's office, their fears came true.

Susana's boss explained that in view of the drop in the hotel's clientele they had to do without a good part of the staff., therefore I could not continue working there. Susana asked how long the cessation would last.. "This is not going to change., maybe you're not understanding me, They won't hire you here anymore.", responded without hesitation. Later, put a document in front of her, which he kindly asked me to sign. Said document was an employment contract with an expiration date for that same day..

By law, after six months of continuous work, an employer is obliged to change the worker's contract. who from then on, you will have a permanent employment contract that guarantees your job and your income. Suzanne, along with several of his colleagues, comply 6 months of work this past week. “What happened is that they took advantage of the crisis to not give us the permanent contract and with that excuse, they took us away”. Susana explains with her simple words.

Along with Susan, more than twenty people were dismissed in that unit of the hotel. But nevertheless, this process has been repeated in several hotels simultaneously. further, the SAS airline ceased more than 2 thousand workers so far this month. And it is known that many companies have repeated this fact. But nevertheless, An exact number of workers laid off is not known so far.

The number of layoffs and the economic cost of the virus is not yet close to being known. Like the number of infected, this figure is rising day by day without the authorities taking a measure in favor of the most vulnerable. Susana and her family do not have coronavirus, but they do suffer the result of a virus that left them without crowns to live.