25/03/2020 8:54 AM IST

Greta Thunberg Believes She Has Coronavirus, Urges Young People To Stay Home

The environmental activist thinks she contracted the virus, although her symptoms were mild.

Greta Thunberg speaks at a climate march in Brussels, Belgium in early March. She says she started experiencing mild coronavirus symptoms not long after she returned home.

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg just revealed it’s “extremely likely” both she and her father contracted coronavirus.

She’s “basically recovered” after a period of self-isolation, but she’s trying to use her experience to urge other young people to stay home as much as they can.

“Our actions can be the difference between life and death for many others,” she said.

Thunberg, 17, posted an update to Instagram on Tuesday explaining her situation. About a week and a half ago, after returning from Central Europe with her father, she started to experience fatigue, shivers, a sore throat and a cough. Her dad had the same symptoms, she said, but they were much worse than hers, and he also had an intense fever.

“I almost didn’t feel ill,” she wrote. “My last cold was much worse than this! Had it not been for someone else having the virus simultainously [sic] I might not even have suspected anything.”

Thunberg self-isolated away from her mother and sister, and after about ten days she says she feels much better now. She wasn’t been tested for the virus, she explained, because where she lives in Sweden only the most dire cases are tested.

Sweden’s approach to containing the virus has been much less strict than many other European countries. High schools and universities have been shut down and gatherings of more than 500 people have been banned — but restaurants, bars, retail stores, elementary schools, and many other services are still in operation.

The Guardian quoted one critic who accused the government of “playing Russian roulette with the Swedish population.”

Thunberg, called on young people specifically to listen to medical advice and stay home as much as possible in order to contain the spread of the virus. Even people who don’t feel sick should take heed, she stressed, 

“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,” she explained.

“We who don’t belong to a risk group have an enormous responsibility.”

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