Quiz nights and poker games: What it’s like inside coronavirus quarantine

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Kharn Lambert is one of more than 90 people being held in quarantine in the UK over coronavirus fears.

Mr Lambert, who was teaching in Wuhan, has been staying at the Arrowe Park Hospital in the Wirral for the past week.

Here, he tells of his experiences in isolation.

The end is in sight. Thursday 13 February will be the “release” date.

No, this is not prison – this is quarantine.

However, living inside a fenced off area makes it seem somewhat like prison.

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This week has been a mixture of emotions: relief to be home and away from the dangers of Wuhan, but also a sense of sadness at leaving so many friends behind.

It has been a real emotional roller-coaster. Nevertheless, we have tried to keep spirits high to help time pass faster.

With a week gone and the days seeming like years, we are suddenly a week away from going home and the likelihood of anyone having the virus is decreasing day by day.

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The mood has changed.

People are more willing to come out of their rooms and interact with each other.

A few of the “inmates” are planning to have their second poker match, and as Lady Gaga sang, they “can’t read my, can’t read my, no [they] can’t read my poker face”.

I must admit I lost £60 on the first night – but all in the name of fun.

To keep us further entertained, I have decided to write and host a quiz on Sunday evening.

Hopefully that will separate the strong from the weak, or at least give us an indication as to how boredom has affected our intelligence – that would make an interesting study.


I should also mention how fantastic the staff here at Arrowe Park Hospital have been from the moment we arrived on Friday evening.

There are no words to express the admiration we have for these heroes who have been pulled from their regular day-to-day posts to help deal with the situation and make us feel as comfortable possible under the circumstances.

Saying thank you doesn’t seem to do it justice.

Then we have the people of the Wirral who have all pulled together to offer support.

The amount of stuff they have donated is insane (in a good way).

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From knitting material to hand-written notes and cards, each and every item has truly touched the hearts of those in here and has brought many a tear, as well as huge joy.

Words cannot express how grateful we are to them.

The love and compassion shown towards us from people on the Wirral and the wider community has been nothing less than amazing and we cannot wait to meet some of them when we get out of here.

As for my personal feelings, it’s hard to describe what I’m really feeling.

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Maybe if they, the Chinese authorities, had listened rather than trying to cover things up, we wouldn’t be in this situation now.

In the coming months, China is going to have to answer a lot of difficult questions.

For a country like China, this is going to be unprecedented.

This is far from over and the only way for China to regain its credibility is to start being more open to the international community.


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