Our reporter describes how he felt after being told he had to self-isloate for three months due to an underlying health issue

Julian Makey is in isolation in Godmanchester

Julian Makey is in isolation in Godmanchester - Credit: Archant

The message, when it came from the NHS was something I had expected, but what I had not anticipated was its brevity, just six short sentences telling me that I was effectively subject to a benign form of house arrest.

As a patient of a form of blood cancer I knew I would probably be one of the 1.5 million people considered likely to be more vulnerable to becoming seriously ill from catching the coronavirus than the average member of the community and thought I would probably be advised to stay in a far as possible and isolate myself from other people.

But I found myself being told to stay indoors for three months - although I was allowed to open a window if I chose.

I first saw the message at about the time Prime Minister Boris Johnson was announcing the ratcheting-up to unheard levels of restrictions designed to limit the spread of the virus and I do not mind admitting that the combination of the two set me back badly.

When you have been ill, it takes a fair bit of sweetener to sugar the pill that says you are at risk again.

This is the NHS message: “NHS Coronavirus Service: We have identified that you’re someone at risk of severe illness if you catch coronavirus.

“Please remain at home for a minimum of 12 weeks. Home is the safest place for you. Staying in helps you stay well and that will help the NHS too. You can open a window but do not leave your home, and stay three steps away from others indoors. Wash your hands more often, for at least 20 seconds.”

Most Read

The message was followed in the post the nexy day by a more in-depth letter which tells recipients what they need to do if you have a support network in the community and what to do if they do not.

The letter also tells you what to do if you think you have coronavirus, including how to seek clinical advice and precautions against contacting other people, including in your own home.

It provides information about GP and hospital appointments, urgent medical care and support with daily living, together with advice on mental health wellbeing.

At least self-isolation at work does not hold any worries since I have been doing that since I resumed at The Hunts Post on a very part-time basis last summer, gradually building up to three full days and recently setting up in a side-room where I could work separately from my wife.

I had been looking forward to travelling into the office for some working days when the coronavirus axe fell.

When you are working, a three day week seems a wonderful idea but I find that the two days I have “spare” do not give me the time I expected to do the things I want to do - although I do seem to spend a lot of time watching dodgy 1970s TV shows like the Professionals, the Sweeney and Minder.

I have spent a good deal of my 40 plus year career working as either a one man band or part of a small team, so working alone is normal for me, unlike my wife Angela, a technology adoption lead, who misses the camaraderie of working as part of a group which frequently sparks business ideas for her.

She said: “My job is to do with emerging technology and it is ironic that working from home is part of it. It is difficult to support customers from a distance at home when I am used to being with them on site.”

Angela went part-time, partly to help care for me, and we now work similar hours - from separate rooms. Perhaps if I move to the other side of the dining room table it would help her.

The frustrating thing is not being able to get out. My wife is concerned that if she goes shopping she will pick up a bug and infect me so our sons have been helping out.”