We also face practical challenges: I naively packed baby supplies for an eight-day vacation, not an additional 14-day quarantine, so we quickly run out of nappies and wipes. The pack of 16 ‘Drypers’ the hotel provided us with for $28 won’t last more than a few days, but they’re quite happy playing naked on the deck in a mini paddling pool, the furniture laid out like an obstacle course around the edge so they don’t fall on the sand four feet below. I think I miss our baby gates more than our dog. The station doctor, who visits us daily to take our blood pressure (a charade of a checkup) tries to stock up on all of our various medications – especially my sister, for whom it is essential.
We get food delivered to the room three times a day by our servers Ahmed and Adam. My daughter has taken to blowing them awkward kisses when they leave. Times are irregular though – lunch can come until 3pm and dinner at 9pm – so now the minibar is full of child-friendly leftovers from previous meals so we can keep them in some semblance of a routine and not replace meals with our full line of Ella’s Kitchen snacks. The YoYo strollers we rented for this trip proved versatile, serving as high chairs, climbing frames, and barricades.
If I may complain, it would be that there is very little clarity on the rules of our quarantine. Should we all be isolated or just my parents? Do we all have to do the full 14 days? Would a new test change anything? Surely the man with the clipboard could have come up with something more lenient for “contacts”? The HPA website is vague and hotel management gives us mixed messages, but they take no chances. A little research online reveals why: The first two Covid cases in the Maldives in March 2020 were Kuredu employees, who caught the virus from an Italian tourist who tested positive on his return home. The resort has been accused by the Maldives Police of deliberately delaying reporting these cases to the HPA, although it was never charged due to insufficient evidence.
Insurance administration aside, there’s no point in stressing about a situation over which I have very little control. Quarantine is a necessity of our time, as are vaccines, masks and careful hand washing, and we all need to do our part to contain the virus. I’m excited to do it from this tropical Alcatraz, although my niece and nephew are very worried that Santa doesn’t know where to find them.
I don’t know when I’ll be home yet, but for now I’m not going anywhere. Keeping babies confined and entertained is the main business here at Quarantineland. My partner and I have a laptop between us, so we work in shifts – no fake Zoom background required. This week’s Telegraph fashion content will come to you from the newspaper’s new Lhaviyani Atoll bureau. Everything you need to know to spend Christmas in a bikini is just around the corner…