It’s 12.30 PM on Saturday, March 14 th .
I’m watching a livestream of the news in Cyprus. The president is announcing that the government has decided to prevent anyone who doesn’t have a paper certifying that they have been tested, and thus don’t have the virus, from entering the country after 6 PM on March 16 th.
People who have been trapped abroad – travelling for health reasons, or on trips, before the news was announced – have until the 21 st to return home.
People returning after the 16 th of March will be placed in government-issued facilities for 14 days. Imposed quarantine.
Just half an hour earlier, I had been on the phone with my dad. We’d been discussing whether I’d return home at the beginning of April or closer to the end of March. Now, none of this is the case anymore. I can’t possibly manage to leave today or tomorrow, so my time in Glasgow has now become indefinite, timeless.
After the 21 st, total lockdown will be enforced in Cyprus for three weeks.
This is a crisis based on uncertainty. We are bombarded by news articles every day, most of which are opinion pieces and subjective relays of information – it is impossible to know what has been fact- checked or not, what is true or false. The only thing I can know is that the Cypriot government is speaking to its people, and they are taking steps to try and contain the virus as much as possible. There are updates on the news every night, people are constantly reminded of the specific measures being taken and the lockdown rules that are being enforced.
Those of us who have remained in the UK, no matter where we are from, know that the lockdown measures put in force by Boris Johnson have almost been left open to the general public to interpret. We have been told, vaguely, to only go to the supermarket, to only go out for one form of exercise a day, but we have not been told how anybody will know how, or when, or even why we do anything we are doing.
It is now the 1st of April. Despite how unsettling the uncertainty of everything is, things have been good. My dad and my sister are in Nicosia, spending their time with each other. They have to send texts to a registered government number in order to be allowed to leave the house, and carry their IDs with them to go to the supermarket, or to go on walks. But the weather is good, and people’s spirits are still high nonetheless.
I speak to them on Skype every day, sometimes twice a day. We have dinner together. I send them the recipes of all the food I’ve been baking. They show me how the cats are doing, my sister sends me pictures of our garden in the sun, and the birds on our patio. If anything, strangely, this has brought us closer together. We are kinder to each other, and much more honest about how we’re feeling.
We don’t know how long this will last. Nobody knows how long this will last. We miss each other every day. I miss everybody. My family in Cyprus, in America, in Greece. My friends from Glasgow, that have now scattered all across the country. But we also all find comfort in each other.
Everybody is getting through this. And we will come out brighter on the other side of it.
[Sophia Archontis – @sssophaki – she/her]