Saturday 14 March 2020

Covid-19 Diaries - entry 1

Self-isolating in the hills

They cordoned off the kids' park while we were having lunch. Our terrace overlooks it so we had a good view as the red and white tape went up.

Were they cleaning it? Repainting the climbing frame? If only. We knew the real reason without needing to be told. There had already been mention of swings spreading the virus; so many small hand holding on, so many big ones pushing those little seats to the command of higher, higher!

My stomach twisted. It felt so surreal. I hadn't even heard of coronavirus until about a month ago. "Where have you been?" my mum asked me, when I mentioned it after finally reading a newspaper.

The first to test positive with the virus in Mallorca was a British tourist on 9th February. He responsibly admitted himself to hospital because he had been in contact with a friend who had tested positive in France. Today there are 44 infected, 18 of which were confirmed today.

People have been panic buying in supermarkets despite the Balearic government's assurance that supplies will keep arriving by boat. I overheard that a big store was being guarded by armed Guardia Civil. Photos online show empty shelves. Already the greed is showing as people try to sell hand sanitser for quadruple of the price.

"They're being so stupid. The meat is from the island!" the frustrated butcher at our local supermarket chain said. He was tired after working seven days in a row - with no day off in sight - and angry with the lack of respect and aggressiveness of the shoppers. Since my husband always has time to chat to the staff, they'd kept his chicken order. If he hadn't made that human connection, they might have given it to someone else.

On Wednesday, the Balearic health ministry announced a ban for cultural and social events for over 1000 people. After a month researching and writing up events for abcMallorca magazine, I was tasked to write cancellation notices.

On Thursday there were rumours that schools and nurseries were going to be closed. Our 
daughter, Sol, doesn't go to nursery but she does have a playgroup on Thursdays. I felt too embarrassed to admit to the playgroup Whatsapp group that I wasn't going to take her because of coronovirus, but we decided it was for the best. I stopped feeling embarrassed as schools and nurseries were officially closed and official bodies began advising citizens to stay at home. It's advice which we feel is wise and necessary, and we are going to be keeping ourselves to ourselves.... 

Well, almost.

"If you guys are ready to take our relationship to the next level, we are prepared to become exclusive with you over the next two weeks!" my friend text me. We've agreed. They also have a toddler, so that works well.

On Friday, the Spanish government declared a state of emergency. How did the news make me feel? Light-headed? A little. 

These are such strange and uncertain times and, as a writer, I feel compelled to record them.

You can also find me on Facebook Emily Benet Author

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