Coronavirus strands Peruvian singer in Finnish Arctic

Reuters

Posted at Mar 27 2020 07:04 AM

ROVANIEMI, Finland (Reuters) - When Peruvian musician Victor Alarcon set out on his dream trip to shoot a music video in the Finnish Arctic for his single called ‘Aurora Boreal’ (Northern Lights), he did not expect the coronavirus outbreak to leave him stranded there for a month.

Alarcon got to make the video of him singing and playing his guitar under the Northern Lights, but he is now having to live on a credit card, hoping his rebooked flight home to Duesseldorf, Germany, next week will not get canceled again.

The singer, whose artistic name is Vic Ja4, arrived in the capital of Finnish Lapland, Rovaniemi, on March 3, when there were no travel restrictions in place in Europe to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

With the temperature dropping to -30 degrees Celsius (-22 Fahrenheit), he enjoyed perfect conditions for seeing the Northern Lights. And he also fulfilled his dream of dipping into a hole bored through the ice of a frozen river - a Finnish tradition for which he had practised by taking cold showers.

But then came an email from his airline urging him to contact them to reschedule his return flight, scheduled for March 17.

“The only thing I could do was to postpone my flight by two weeks, until the beginning of April, hoping that flight does not get canceled too,” he told Reuters.

Alarcon is staying at an apartment whose owner gave him a significant discount for his extended stay but has nevertheless spent all his travel budget.

Finland, which has a population of 5.5 million, had 880 confirmed COVID-19 cases and three deaths as of Wednesday, while Germany - population 83 million - was at 34,055 cases and 175 deaths, according to a Reuters tally.

“In Germany... my university is closed, my job closed, the place where I do sports closed, the gym closed. Everything is paralysed,” he said, adding he still wanted to go home even if he is less likely to catch the coronavirus in the Arctic than in Duesseldorf.

Alarcon’s return could be further complicated by the Finnish government’s decision to place the region around Helsinki under lockdown.

Meanwhile, Alarcon has shot another music video, inspired by the pandemic, depicting himself self-isolating in an Arctic hut in the forest.

Reporting by Anne Kauranen and Alexander Kuznetsov; Editing by Gareth Jones