Swedish teen climate activist, Greta Thunberg and her father Svante. Picture: Czarek Sokolowski/AP
Swedish teen climate activist, Greta Thunberg and her father Svante. Picture: Czarek Sokolowski/AP

I think my dad and I have the coronavirus, says eco-warrior Greta Thunberg

By MAIL FOREIGN SERVICE Time of article published Mar 25, 2020

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London - Teenage activist Greta Thunberg is self-isolating over fears she and her father have coronavirus.

The eco-warrior, 17, revealed both she and Svante, 50, had shown symptoms after their recent tour of Europe taken by train before travel restrictions were put in place.

Neither has been tested as Sweden reserved tests for those with severe symptoms in at-risk groups. But they have both self-isolated.

Miss Thunberg told the New Scientist: "I came home from central Europe and I isolated myself from the beginning, because I thought I might as well as I’ve been on trains so I don’t want to put anyone else at risk.

"But I started feeling some symptoms after a few days. At the same time my father was feeling much more intense symptoms.

"The important thing is I didn’t basically feel that I was ill. It could be that I was feeling unusually tired, I was coughing a bit. That is very dangerous because you don’t know you have it. If it wouldn’t have been for my father getting it at the same time and much more intense than me, I might not even have noticed it, that I was sick.

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The last two weeks I’ve stayed inside. When I returned from my trip around Central Europe I isolated myself (in a borrowed apartment away from my mother and sister) since the number of cases of COVID-19 (in Germany for instance) were similar to Italy in the beginning. Around ten days ago I started feeling some symptoms, exactly the same time as my father - who traveled with me from Brussels. I was feeling tired, had shivers, a sore throat and coughed. My dad experienced the same symptoms, but much more intense and with a fever. In Sweden you can not test yourself for COVID-19 unless you’re in need of emergent medical treatment. Everyone feeling ill are told to stay at home and isolate themselves. I have therefore not been tested for COVID-19, but it’s extremely likely that I’ve had it, given the combined symptoms and circumstances. Now I’ve basically recovered, but - AND THIS IS THE BOTTOM LINE: I almost didn’t feel ill. My last cold was much worse than this! Had it not been for someone else having the virus simultainously I might not even have suspected anything. Then I would just have thought I was feeling unusually tired with a bit of a cough. And this it what makes it so much more dangerous. Many (especially young people) might not notice any symptoms at all, or very mild symptoms. Then they don’t know they have the virus and can pass it on to people in risk groups. We who don’t belong to a risk group have an enormous responsibility, our actions can be the difference between life and death for many others. Please keep that in mind, follow the advice from experts and your local authorities and #StayAtHome to slow the spread of the virus. And remember to always take care of each other and help those in need. #COVID #flattenthecurve

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"Of course I’m not 100 percent sure I have got it. But it would have been very strange if it would have been something else because it just fits. Especially my father’s reaction, it’s exactly fitting with the symptoms.

"I was feeling tired, had shivers, a sore throat and coughed. My dad experienced the same symptoms but much more intense.’

Saying that she has recovered, Miss Thunberg urged people to stay apart, saying: "Many people don’t feel symptoms at all, or very mild symptoms, but it can still be contagious. So you have to really practice social distancing whether you feel ill or not."

Miss Thunberg was in Bristol last month for a rally that attracted up to 15 000 people. She also visited the European Parliament in Brussels as part of her tour.

Daily Mail

* For the latest on the Covid-19 outbreak visit IOL's #Coronavirus trend page.

** If you think you have been exposed to the Covid-19 virus, please call the 24-hour hotline on 0800 029 999

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