Magnús Scheving, perhaps better known as Sportacus from the Icelandic children’s TV show, Lazy Town, has offered his insight into the Icelandic response to the COVID-19 outbreak. In an interview with Heimi Karlsson and Gulla Helga on the í Bítið programme on Station 2,Vísi and Bylgjån, the Icelandic actor and entrepeneur called for national unity and strong leadership in the face of the crisis, Visir reports.
Magnús issued some patriotic words of encouragement for Icelanders in these difficult times. Citing the nation’s speedy recovery from the 2008 economic crash, Magnús praised Icelanders for their ability to withstand times of hardship and bounce back quickly. Although he acknowledged the crisis is only going to worsen in coming weeks, he is certain that the Icelandic people will get through this “covid bullshit” quickly.
Applying some Sportacus-style thinking to the current coronavirus outbreak, Magnús also offered this advice: “We need to think now as if we were coaches, we need to think about our strengths.” Almost as if in answer to Magnús, the Surgeon General, Alma Möller took the opportunity to highlight some of Iceland’s strengths in today’s coronavirus press conference, as Kjarninn reports. “Icelanders are a good and educated nation. We have wonderfully educated and capable healthcare professionals.” She went on to add, “if we can’t deal with this virus – who can?”
Whilst not directly criticising the Icelandic government, Magnús appeared dubious about the amount of leadership in the country. “We need to get a real captain, trainer or leader,” he said before warning that “Icelanders are not very good at making long-term plans”
Magnús may not be the only Icelander with anxieties about the government’s handling of the crisis. Whilst the Icelandic government has announced a programme of policies to address the immediate and long-term economic consequences of the pandemic, many think such measures do not far enough. There has also been criticism of the government’s reluctance to put in place travel restrictions to limit the amount of foreign tourists entering the country.
Here is the full interview: (unfortunately for English-speakers the interview is conducted in Icelandic and subtitles are not available).
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