Expat Essentials

Lives locked down: Seven expats in Portugal share personal stories from the pandemic


My husband and I relocated to Portugal in October 2018, and we moved primarily because of the high quality of life in Lisbon, and easy access to beautiful beaches and warm climate. Living in Lisbon also meant that we could easily explore the rest of Europe, which we were planning to do around Easter. Unfortunately, things have progressed quite unexpectedly when the coronavirus pandemic hit the world.

Our holiday plans have been postponed indefinitely, and airlines have cancelled our flights to Budapest and Amsterdam. Even my flights back to Indonesia, which were scheduled for June, have been cancelled. This indicates to me that this pandemic could go on for a while.

Nevertheless, our trips are the least of our worries. We are concerned about our health and also about our colleagues and friends in Lisbon. Moreover, we are far away from our families and we are afraid for our parents, siblings or relatives back home. If anything happens, it will be very difficult to be with them due to the border-closing protocols.

As the number of cases increase daily, the government is doing well to tighten the borders and implement certain regulations. We are restricted from leaving our home unless there is a valid reason to do so. Despite worrying about our families in other countries, we have to strictly follow the rules imposed by the government to ensure the safety of others and help to flatten the curve.

I just hope that this will be over soon and life will turn to normal.

(Editor’s note: See our post here for updated information about what countries across Europe are doing to combat the pandemic.)

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