Swedish island recruits medieval knights to help people keep a distance

Swedish island recruits medieval knights to help people keep a distance
A Gotland knight at a medieval festival in happier times. Photo: Helen Simonsson/Flickr
Who will enforce social distancing rules at one of Sweden's most popular summer destinations, to help stop a resurgence of the new coronavirus? Four medieval knights on horseback, that's who.

Local authorities on the island of Gotland have recruited knights from regional medieval reenactment group Torneamentum to help curb the risk of the coronavirus spreading.

The so-called ‘Covid Knights' are set to visit some of Gotland's most popular sites this summer, including beaches and the medieval town of Visby, carrying signs with messages such as “keep your distance”, “stay at home if you have symptoms” and “wash your hands often”.

“If you've got 700 kilos worth of horse coming towards you, you'll do as you're told,” Lennart Borg, project manager of Torneamentum, told Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet on Monday.

With 206 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and six deaths of people who tested positive, Gotland is one of the regions least affected in Sweden. But concern has been raised that its healthcare could struggle with a potential increase in cases if tourists fail to follow health and safety guidelines.

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“It's great that we got the knights involved. We think it will help to remind us of the messages we all know by now, but which are so easy to forget when we are distracted by other things during the summer,” Sven Montelius, Gotland's acting chief infectious disease doctor, said in a statement.

 


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