Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg said on Tuesday that it was 'extremely likely' that she had contracted the new coronavirus, after experiencing several symptoms following a trip to central Europe.
“Around ten days ago I started feeling some symptoms… I was feeling tired, had shivers, a sore throat and coughed,” the teenage climate champion said in an Instagram post.
Thunberg said the symptoms emerged after she returned from a trip around central Europe, and that she and her father had isolated themselves as a precaution.
As of Tuesday at 2pm, Sweden had reported 2,272 confirmed cases, but only those with severe symptoms in need of hospital care and staff working with at risk groups are tested.
Therefore, Thunberg said she had not been tested, but said “it's extremely likely” that she had it, “given the combined symptoms and circumstances”.
The 17-year-old also said she had now “basically recovered”, but cautioned others, saying she “almost didn't feel ill”.
She warned, as Swedish health authorities have also warned, that others, especially young people, only experiencing mild symptoms might not 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,” she said.
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
In early March, Thunberg, who spearheaded the “school strike for climate” movement, called for a digital protest so as to avoid large gatherings that could exacerbate the spread of the new coronavirus.
She had invited activists to post photos of themselves with the word #ClimateStrikeOnline every Friday instead of attending demonstrations in the streets.