We are a family of four living in Barcelona. I, my wife Belen, and our two teenage children Sara and Nico, have been in lockdown here since March 12. Here’s how it’s been for each of us:
Mike:It’s been four weeks now. We’re only allowed outside to go directly to the shops or pharmacy. The police and registered town hall personnel are out in force handing out 200-480 Euro fines. For example, smoking a cigarette outside in front of your apartment here in Spain attracts a 480 Euro fine on the spot. Face masks, gloves and hand wash are standard in all shops with social distancing and limiting numbers of people in the shop causing long queues. The queues are good; it’s an excuse to stay outside longer! To pass the time inside, we try to keep a routine, work on-line, cook, drink wine, do yoga on-line, communicate online with friends, run up and down the corridor, watch movies and play board games.
We have a small patio with a garden, which is a privilege living in Spanish cities, most people live in 80 m2 apartments. I work a bit on my Reforest Spain” project, tending to Spanish oak tree seeds in tetra-bricks and looking after the seedlings until ready to plant. I usually plant 200 to 750 trees a year. The number of Covid 19 cases is high in Spain, as in France and the UK. I think in Europe we should relax the confinement now for people 50-60 years old and younger, to allow them to work because the symptoms are mainly mild for younger people (although some do need hospital, it’s relatively low), still keep social restrictions active, and keep the elderly 70, 80+ in total confinement for another two to four weeks until new cases slow to a trickle. It will also build a community immunity protecting the elderly in the future, further down the year or next year. The impact on our well-being and economy could be felt for many years if we are not allowed to return to work soon.
Sara (16): Quarantine makes you just not want to do things. After all, one is stuck home all day. Here in Barcelona, you can’t even go outside without getting a fine. Except if you are going shopping, to throw out the trash or to the hospital after realising you got Corona. So, after four weeks stuck in my house, I’m actually starting to really like it. I kind of got myself into a little routine. It consists of waking up, having breakfast, and then trying to do something productive until lunch time. Then I have a little break and watch Netflix or play video gameThe Sims 4 . My friends and I also usually call each other in the afternoons, maybe for homework, or to chat. Then I do an hour of exercises, just so I don’t turn into a human seal;, summer will be there once this is over.
Have to say, having school and quarantine sucks, but vacations and quarantine is actually pretty good. The only thing is that tomorrow is my last day of Easter holidays, so I guess I’ll just go back into my room and do home work.
Nico (13): I am ok with all of it, since I like staying at home. To pass the time I do online schooling, my teacher has given me and my class a schedule for work. Last week I had to do a long presentation in front of my class with my teacher online. I also play the piano and have online classes with my teacher once a week and practise everyday. I read books, play board games with my family, video games with my friends online and do some sports in the afternoon but am looking forward to getting back into basketball soon.
Belen: At week four of confinement, I can’t really say it has been too hard: I am at home with my husband and kids, I can telework, the shops are 30 seconds away and there is nothing missing in terms of food or basics. Thank God for the internet, I can keep in touch with the news, friends and family, find recipes, follow fitness workouts and find out everything about Coronavirus.
As a cell biologist it is not all new territory for me, but I am not a virologist or epidemiologist, and I am still gathering every piece of information about the pandemic every free moment. What is helping the most with confinement is having a routine, especially the one hour yoga session on Skype every day. directed by a friend. Humour is helping as well. I thought by now we would be all sick and tired of the memes and videos going around social media but they are still quite witty and fun. The most difficult issue is. not to be able to directly help with this crisis –my tiny contribution to the design of a clinical trial for Covid 19 from work is not enough to clear that feeling. And then, of course, not being able to enjoy the spring outside. I was doubting what to do first when we are free. Gathering with friends in a bar? Returning to the hair dresser? Running to the beach… it looks like it is going to be a gradual release.