QUARANTINE - DAY 22 - 27th March 2020
Today Bethlehem was due to host the annual Palestinian Marathon. Thousands of runners from across the world should have been running through the streets of Bethlehem - start and finish line in Manger Square. All guesthouses and hotels were fully booked months ago with many runners raising money for organisations in Bethlehem - this virus will be another blow to the economy of Bethlehem. A young pharmacist of 22 years old, working in Bethlehem had a high fever and thought she may have the virus so was quarantined for two weeks at home. Her thoughts during this time:
My Coronian journey started from the first day of my self-isolation on 7th March 2020. It was a Saturday and it was a "shocking" outcome for me because I did not expect that I would be told to join the list of home quarantines when I decided to have the test for covid-19 to make sure I wasn't infected - thank God I later found out that the result was negative. I had to obtain permission from my work for two weeks' absence in anticipation of "the emergence of any new symptoms" (this is what the Palestinian Ministry of Health decreed for everyone who takes the test).
So I decided to use my isolation to rearrange my room. I would sit in the sunlight that I had been longing for while I was at work - the nature of my work impedes me from seeing the sun - and in that time I wanted to get closer to my Lord. But the most important point for me was to enjoy and soak up the family atmosphere and spend more time sitting with my family every day.
Thus my first week started with enthusiasm and energy. I read from the Qur’an and played cards with my brothers. I was so happy that the sun shone every day until the first week ended. In the second week, boredom and depression started crowding in on me from all sides. I had been content and relaxed with the daily routine in the first week and not seeing new people, especially when I heard the daily news of the virus and the increasing number of cases in Palestine and deaths around the world.
I don’t know how I lasted the second week waiting until I got health clearance to leave house self-isolation and go back to work. Oh my God, how overwhelmed was I with my feelings in the second week? And the tension I felt was so intense that I was desperate to come out of the grim and boring isolation. I remember that my father laughed at me and said, "I have never seen anyone so excited to return to work as you."
Of course, I will never forget the wonderful efforts of the private sector who provided me and my relatives with a few provisions and those who conducted the examination and the Health Directorate, which contacted us several times to check for the presence of any new symptoms during the fortnight.
Photo courtesy of Mohamed Abu Haniyeh