With half of the quarantine done, some of the residents who find themselves in hotels in the territory, despite everything, have a positive balance of their days. THE END POINT spoke with three of them to find out how they spend their day to day.
Gonçalo Lobo Pinheiro
They are in forced accommodation for 21 days at Grande Coloane Resort. A mandatory quarantine decreed by the Macao SAR Government for having returned from abroad in the last wave of residents who arrived on two Air Macau flights from Tokyo. But before Japan, the origins were diverse, from Portugal to the United Arab Emirates, passing through Belgium, the United States of America or Indonesia.
THE END POINT spoke with three of these residents to find out about their daily routines, at a time when just under half of that forced quarantine has yet to be completed.
Access to the balcony is fenced, but contrary to what happened in other quarantines over the past year, 10 centimeters of fresh air are allowed, every day, 24 hours a day. The chirping of birds, the beach and mountain landscape help with the rest. The ordeal of 21 days, after all, is turning out better than many would expect. The rest of the time, it’s up to everyone’s imagination.
Marta Fernandes is a trainee lawyer. At first, he thought that the 21-day quarantine would be an ordeal, but today, and after 11 days, he agrees that “after all, things are not being so difficult”. “I feel great. Time has passed super fast. There are days when I feel more on vacation than stuck in a room,” she began by telling our newspaper, adding: “Honestly, I thought it would be weird not having any obligations for 21 days, but it’s been really good. It turns out to be 21 days where you can focus on your hobbies or small projects for which there was never time.”
For the lawyer “the fact of being in a hotel overlooking the sea and all the service provided, has helped a lot”. “Of course, the Whatsapp group of Portuguese people in quarantine has been a spectacular company, as we are in contact all day and share photos”, reveals Marta Fernandes.
The time between nasopharyngeal swabs has been quite busy, says the trainee lawyer. Basically, when you have free time, you watch series and movies on Netflix. “I brought a lot of books, but I only read two. One of them on the trip. I brought my watercolors, and I’m talking to friends and family by video call. However, Netflix always ends up winning when I choose to do something in my spare time.”
However, Marta Fernandes tries to have a routine to help her pass the time. “It’s important, I think. So I agree to temperature measurement and breakfast at 8am. I exercise. I have some free time and lunch arrives around 12:00. I use the afternoons to study for the Bar Association exam”, he says, revealing that the Health Services will take two blood samples until the end of the quarantine for serological testing of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies.
Give time to relationships, from a distance
Every day Marta Pereira posts a photo on social media. A photo that represents the passing day. At the FINAL POINT, TDM’s radio animator also agrees with lawyer Marta Fernandes. “Interestingly, the quarantine is not being as difficult as I imagined it to be. The fact of having this spectacular view over the beach and the mountain, hearing the birds, and being able to open our window a little has helped. The bedroom is also very large, allowing you to do a series of activities such as physical exercise, which I do more regularly. It’s like being on vacation, but not being able to go to the pool or the beach”, says the announcer.
For Marta Pereira, the fact that the hotel staff is very attentive also helps a lot. “We are called frequently to ask if we need anything. In this aspect, it has been fantastic”, he reveals.
Saturdays are dedicated to domestic tasks, reveals the broadcaster to the FINAL POINT, assuming that she has to wash clothes, vacuum and clean the dust in her room. In addition, there is a lot of free time, and Marta Pereira tries to occupy it with the highest quality possible. “I take the opportunity to replenish my sleep levels, taking a few afternoon naps. I read a lot. I had books gathering dust on the shelf and now I’m catching up on reading. I have also seen series and researched on the Internet about various topics that, due to lack of time, I had not done when I was out there”, he assumes.
And as there are still more days ahead of her, Marta Pereira wants the routine to continue because, as president of Somos! – Portuguese Language Communication Association, there are many projects that need to move forward. “Now I truly have time to prepare a series of activities and we are already moving forward with the 3rd edition of the Photography Contest, this year dedicated to the Covid-19 pandemic”.
As Marta Fernandes mentioned, Marta Pereira also sees a positive escape in the Whatsapp group created by the Portuguese in quarantine. “There we share jokes and challenge each other daily. All of this helps us to keep our spirits up”, he says, concluding that he has also maintained a connection with the outside world, talking to family and friends. “I’m giving time to relationships. I drink cocktails and share lunch and dinner with them [risos]. There are still the pets of friends who have left things for me at the reception. I really don’t think I’m having a hard time.”
“Inside the prison, I feel free”
Tiago Miranda is also a trainee lawyer. He went to Portugal to spend Christmas with his family because he had holidays to enjoy, which he was unable to enjoy during 2020. In the distance, he began to see “life going backwards” when time passed and travel restrictions increased. But he never let up and now he’s also, with his girlfriend, in one of the rooms at the Grand Coloane Resort. “I was expecting a lot worse, I confess. I imagined myself eating chicken legs every day [risos]”, he started by telling our newspaper.
Tiago even says that “I wouldn’t trade the Grand Coloane Resort for the luxury of a Ritz Carlton” to pass a quarantine. “It’s so nice to wake up, go to the window and see a beach and trees. Listen to the birds. That makes being stuck here a lot easier.”
With the company of his girlfriend Luísa Petiz, an interior designer, time goes by faster, as everything is “committed to two”. “We exercise because, in fact, the room is big. We see series and movies. we ate more [risos]”, he confesses.
Tiago is having a quarantine a little different from the ones the Martas face just because he has, in effect, to work for the law firm that employs him. The boss thanks. “I have worked. I see and handle emails. I have access to my work platform and try to do something useful. On Saturdays I have a weekly meeting with my colleagues, as usual, but now in Zoom. I continue to do my internship and my studies. I make contracts, prepare documents. Anyway, I’m only limited in signing and delivering paperwork”, he notes that, for that, he asks for help from one or another colleague.
“I hate being dependent on other people”, confesses Tiago, who explains that “others don’t have to be available all the time to help you. But, of course, he admits that his friends have spoiled him with cuddling. “They even brought my coffee machine here”, he reveals.
Tiago explained to END POINT that every day, twice a day, his body temperature is taken. And since arriving in Macau, he has already made three swabs. “Today [ontem] was one more. Now the blood tests will follow”, he says, defending that the local government has been doing a positive job in the fight against Covid-19. After some insistence on the issue, Tiago, who does not usually suffer in advance, showed some “frustration ” in case you test positive to Covid-19. “I will be tremendously disappointed. My biggest fear is testing positive in Macau, because if I tested positive in Portugal, the procedures are different. The fact that I think I can spend another month or two in quarantines, closed, makes me a little unnerved, but I want to believe that at the end of these days and after the period of self-management, I can go back to my routine, to my life ”.