Canadian family rides out COVID-19 pandemic on remote tropical island

A Canadian household on a round-the-world journey plans to experience out the COVID-19 pandemic on a distant tropical island within the South Pacific regardless of the chance of dengue fever.

Emmanuel Samoglou, his spouse Nicole Adoranti and their two-year-old daughter are staying in a small house in idyllic Rarotonga, a part of the Prepare dinner Islands.

“It makes extra sense to remain right here,” stated Samoglou, 41. “We wish to keep away from airports and we really feel in a small approach this nation has been very grateful and opened its hearts and arms to us and if we might help right here, we will assist.”

The islands, with about 13,000 residents, don’t have any confirmed instances of COVID-19, however the authorities has raised its emergency ranges and is working below the belief the virus is circulating there. Three folks had been just lately examined, however two got here again damaging whereas the third take a look at has but to return again.

The couple have lived overseas for years, together with the final 5 within the United Arab Emirates, earlier than having their daughter. They wished to spend extra time with their little lady and saved up earlier than starting their journey final June.

They visited household in Italy, Greece, South Korea and Thailand. Then they visited Bali and New Zealand earlier than touchdown in Rarotonga in mid-February, Samoglou stated.

He labored in Prepare dinner Islands as a reporter in 2013 and 2014, so that they have associates there, however the nation is now practising social distancing like a lot of the world.

“We have got the seashore to ourselves, nevertheless it’s wet season, so we’re inside a lot of the time,” he stated.

Earlier than the novel coronavirus started sweeping throughout the globe and killing 1000’s, the household’s most important fear on Rarotonga was mosquito-borne dengue fever, which is circulating on the island. In contrast to Canada, he stated, the one run on provides seems to be mosquito coils.

“There may be loads of bathroom paper,” Samoglou stated with fun.

The household thought of returning to Canada after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau put the decision out final week for Canadians overseas to return house. However the Prepare dinner Islands started shutting down its flights final week in an effort to maintain the virus at bay.

Now the one flights are to and from New Zealand, which has closed its borders to outsiders — though Samoglou stated New Zealand would permit his household to transit in the event that they wished to go away.

“We actively thought of going again to Canada however what sort of scenario would that be?” he stated. “We might be in quarantine for 2 weeks, and fearful we would infect household or vice versa. Though we’re alone right here, we made the choice that it simply is perhaps higher to remain.”

In addition they fear concerning the health-care system, which couldn’t deal with a big outbreak. The nation plans to ship anybody testing optimistic to COVID-19 to New Zealand ought to they want remedy.

In any other case, the household plans to hit the seashore when the solar shines as their daughter learns to swim. Meals can also be plentiful.

“There’s bananas and papayas which can be rising in our yard,” he stated. “And it takes me a very long time, however I can husk a coconut.”

The encircling waters additionally present a bounty of fish from tuna to mahi-mahi to marlin, he stated.

“There’s stress with the virus at our doorstep, however there’s actually this good mentality right here of working collectively and making an attempt to do our greatest to take care of the scenario,” Samoglou stated. “We gotta do what we gotta do to remain wholesome and to remain optimistic.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first printed on March 26, 2020.

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