Melissa Silver reports from Lesvos as news comes in of a new case of coronavirus
"The island of Lesvos has gone into lockdown, and with no known active coronavirus cases currently on the island, am I mad about the fact that I’m stuck inside? The short answer is no.
"There was one positive case a few weeks ago, a local woman in a village in the south of the island – she had recently travelled to Asia - and she is now out of hospital and is said to be recovering fine at home. It seems impossible that there could really be no more cases but that is what we are led to believe"
…That is what I had just written, intending to write a "it's good to follow the rules even if it doesn't seem necessary" kind of article, when my phone beeped. Another coronavirus case was announced - in Mytilene (the town of 30,000 people, where I live right in the centre). A man who had been in Thailand has tested positive. His wife is now also showing flu symptoms. The man is in quarantine at home while his wife is in hospital.
Could there be a more perfect example of why lockdown – or isolation, or whatever you want to call it, whether you choose it or it is chosen for you – is necessary? I was following the rules (social distancing, a lot of isolation apart from outdoor walks, endless hand washing, etc.) partly out of paranoia (already being a bit of a germaphobe), partly out of a disbelief that that one case could really be the only one, and partly to get used to living a certain way before it became seriously necessary (it seemed inevitable).
And now we’re here. There’s those two, and we don’t know who they came into contact with before going into quarantine, or who the people they came into contact with have been in contact with...
Everyone should already be behaving like the virus is everywhere, and now, here, we have to assume it is.
While I feel physically sick at the thought of what this could mean for the vulnerable people here, the locals and the refugees, my heart aches for the Hebrides, too. I live in dread of the day I read that the virus has made its way there – but it will, if it hasn’t already.
So, please, for yourself, for your family and for mine, stay inside, avoid close contact with anyone, wash your hands more than you think is necessary, and then once more. The more careful we are now, the shorter this painful period will be, and the fewer lives will be loss.
Take care, everyone.
At time of writing, the UK has 5,018 confirmed cases of covid-19 and 240 deaths. (Population 66.44 million)
Greece currently has 530 confirmed cases and 13 deaths. (Population 10.74 million)