Monday, 30 March 2020

8 ways to lift your spirits during the coronavirus pandemic

As the world winds down and goes into survival mode to combat the coronavirus it's easy to feel occasionally despondent with all the bad news we hear every day. Stockmakets have crashed, people have lost their jobs, the majority of shops have closed and the number of infections keeps rising. For humankind the coronavirus pandemic is a catastrophic event but for nature it has been a reprieve. With the halt of human activity, air pollution is at its lowest level in years, fish and dolphins can now be seen swimming in the clear canals of Venice and we are learning how fragile our existence is. Social distancing and self isolation are crucial at this time but do have some benefits. We are spending more time at home with our families and sleeping in a little longer each day as we don't have to get up early to communte to work.

As the coronavirus continues to spread throughout the world we must be vigilant and do our best to protect ourselves and others. We are living in unprecedented times that require unprecedented measures. If the situation makes you feel overwelmed at times, or you feel bored at home, try shifting your focus onto something a little more pleasant to evoke a smile..

Here are eight ways to lift your spirits:

1. Indulge in your passion for music
Italy has been in lockdown for several weeks now and many Italians have shared on social media what they have been doing at home to pass the time. Some have sung from their balconies in solidarity whilst other play their instruments with pride. Itis s a joy for all to hear.

Mirko and Valerio play the violin while in quarantine in Italy.

2. Take a sauna
Estonians know the healing benefits of the sauna. It’s been an integral part of Estonian culture for centuries. Saunas not only make your skin feel great but are also good for respiratory and immune function and joint pain. You always feel cleansed after a good sauna session.

3. Make a conference call
If you feel a bit cut off from friends and family during this period of isolation, why don't you give them a call via video? Zoom and Google Meet can connect you with up to 20 people on one video call. It's a great way to stay in touch!

4. Go online and discover something new
The world is full of fascinating places yet we are often aware of only a fraction of them. An interesting place I recently read about is Shell Grotto in Margate, England The secret underground chamber with passageways was discovered in the 1800s but nobody knows who built it or when it was built. The underground lair was made with over 4.6 million shells.

5. Be creative!
Now that you are at home with extra time on your hands, it's a great opportunity to do that craft project you've been meaning to do. Whether its some form of art project, sewing, building or cooking. Just do it, no more delays!

6. Visit a museum - online via a virtual tour
One of the great things about our modern era is that so many things are accessible online. Why don't you choose a museum and explore!

7. Fill your home with postive vibes
People have been cooking a lot more since they have been in self-isolation and sharing photos of their culinary feats on social media. Cooking can be a real pleasure when beautiful aromas fill the air and accompanied by a glass of wine and music. Another thing that stimulates the senses is the use of candles. Light a few candles in your living room and kitchen and it is sure to make you feel good.

8. Watch cute koala videos
With all the gloom and doom we read in the media these days, take a break and read about something a bit more pleasant like how the koalas have been faring after the recent Australian bushfires. Many koalas have recovered from their burns and injuries and been released back into the wild. No matter what mood I'm in, good or bad, a cute koala picture makes me smile every time!

Thursday, 26 March 2020

Video: Quiet Streets in Tallinn - March 2020

There is a certain beauty in the city without the crowds. The video was produced by Priidu Saart in Tallinn last Sunday.

First coronavirus death reported in Estonia

Yesterday Tallinn Central Hospital reported the first coronavirus death. An 83-year-old woman from Hiiumaa succumbed to the virus after being hospitalised on March 20. She had a pre-existing medical condition. The Estonian Health Board has stated that the number of people infected with the coronaavirus in Estonia is now 538.


Monday, 23 March 2020

Saaremaa and Harju counties worst hit by the coronavirus

As of today there are currently 352 cases of the coronavirus in Estonia. Of those, 15 people have been hospitalised and 4 are in intensive care. The death toll remains at zero. 17 percent of the people confirmed to have the virus are aged over 60.

Estonia has created a state-approved automated chatbot called 'Suve' that provides trustworthy information during the coronavirus pandemic. You can find out more here: Suve

How Estonia compares to the worst affected countries.

Be safe everyone, stay at home and protect yourselves. If you have a sauna at home now is a good time to use it regularly.

Thursday, 19 March 2020

New milestone: 500,000 pageviews!

Estonia: Paradise of the North reached a new milestone over the weekend - 500,000 pageviews! Thank you so much to everyone who regularly reads this blog. I really appreciate it when you take the time to get in touch with feedback. I've received so many lovely emails over the years from all corners of the world. Thank you so much! 

Monday, 16 March 2020

Coronavirus: Stay home, stay safe

It's truly shocking the degree to which the coronavirus has spread throughout the world. Schools have been closed, public events cancelled and supermarket shelves stripped bare. I've never seen anything quite like it before. Estonia has now temporarily closed its border to foreigners in an attempt to stop the spread of the virus. So far no-one has died of the coronavirus in Estonia but it's far from over. Let's hope social distancing  will impede the spread.

Friday, 13 March 2020

Estonian government declares state of emergency

In a bid to contain the spread of the coronavirus, the Estonian government declared a state of emergency today that will stay in effect until 1 May 2020.  Estonia’s borders will remain open with certain measures in place. There are currently 79 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Estonia.

Shoppers were surprised to find empty shelves in Tallinn today. Supermarkets haven't looked like that since 1992.

Thursday, 12 March 2020

Estonia has a new movie streaming service - Netikino

You can now watch the best in Estonian cinema with the new streaming service called Netikino. The site offer films in six categories; Documentary, Animation, Drama, Family, Comedy and Concert. 

You can view the films here:

Tuesday, 10 March 2020

Ways to protect yourself against the Coronavirus

With two new cases of the Coronavirus confirmed in Tallinn today, no doubt the fear of contracting the virus is in the back of everyone's mind. The total number of infected people in Estonia currently stands at 12 and health experts expect that figure to rise.

The Coronavirus emerged from China in December last year and has since spread to over 114 countries. The virus is highly contagious and has crossed borders at an alarming rate, over 116,000 people worldwide are confirmed to have the virus and 4085 people have died from it. The countries with the highest infection rates are China, Italy, Iran, South Korea and France. Last weekend Germany's number of infections doubled from 670 on Friday to 1260 on Sunday night.

The Coronavirus is similar to the flu in nature and is potentially deadly for people with weak immune systems, namely the elderly (those aged over 65) and smokers. So far there have been no recorded deaths of children aged under ten.

With the fear of infection looming over our heads there have been some shocking developments during the past week. We have seen panic shopping, supermarket brawls over toilet paper and the complete lockdown of parts of Italy in order to contain the spread. Governments and health officials around the world have taken measures to combat the virus but on a personal level, what can we do? What is the best way to protect ourselves? The Estonian government has published this information sheet with some practical advice but there are a few things I would add.

We are most at risk of contracting the virus when we are in crowded areas. Commuting to work on a crammed bus or train or being confined on an aeroplane is the likely place to contract the virus. Wearing a mask and gloves is one way of protecting yourself in addition to washing your hands regularly, but there is something else you should do that is equally important - bolster your immune system. By strengthening your immune system with a high intake of vitamin C you have the best chance of fighting the virus or not contracting it at all.

My tips: Wash hands regularly and thoroughly.  Always carry a supply of tissues with you to cover a cough or sneeze. Boost your immune system with regular doses of vitamin C, the body absorbs it fairly quickly so you need to top it up every three hours. I prefer to eat blueberries, strawberries and raspberries and sometimes use powder form (ascorbic acid) too.  I also eat a chunk of fresh ginger every morning and night. Drink plenty of water and sleep at least 7-8 hours every night. Limit alcohol and refined sugars and this should keep you healthy. 

Updates about the Coronavirus can be found here: COVID-19 CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK

Estonia has the lowest infant mortality rate in the EU

Infant mortality has halved during the past ten years. In 2018, the highest infant mortality rates in the European Union were registered in Romania (6.0 deaths per 1 000 live births), Bulgaria (5.8 deaths) and Malta (5.6 deaths), and the lowest in Estonia (1.6 deaths).

In the EU in 2018, around 14 600 children died before reaching one year of age. This is equivalent to an infant mortality rate of 3.4 deaths per 1 000 live births. 

During the 10 years from 2008 to 2018, the infant mortality rate in the EU fell from 4.2 deaths per 1 000 live births to 3.4 deaths per 1 000 live births.

This is great news for Estonia. Something the country can feel proud of!

Tuesday, 3 March 2020

Tallinn bookstore named one of the best in the world

The Rahva Raamat bookstore located on the corner of Pärnu Highway and Suur-Karja Street in Tallinn has been named among the top three bookstores in the world by the London Book Fair. The bookstore has been operating for more than a century and recently underwent a major overhaul. ERR News writes about its history here

Sunday, 1 March 2020

Uku Suviste to represent Estonia at Eurovision

Last night Estonian singer-songwriter Uku Suviste won Eesti Laul. He will now go on to represent Estonia at the Eurovision Song Contest that will be held in the Netherlands in May.