Quarantine was like a second honeymoon

Valerie Bruiners, 71, and her husband Jacob, 69.

An elderly Surrey Estate couple who spent two weeks at a Covid-19 quarantine facility say it was like a “second honeymoon”.

Jacob Bruiners, 69, and his wife, Valerie, 71, say they were treated very well and had time to rekindle their love.

Mr Bruiners, who is in a wheelchair and has diabetes and hypertension, had himself tested at Kensington day hospital on Monday June 15 after feeling short of breath. Two days later, he learnt he was positive, and Ms Bruiners went for a test on the same day and the following day learnt she was positive too.

Mr Bruiners left home to quarantine at the Old Mutual building in Pinelands on Wednesday June 18. His wife joined him the day after.

Ms Bruiners said their time in isolation had strengthened their 35-year marriage. They had gone to a state quarantine facility, she said, because they had not wanted to infect their four daughters and six grandchildren who stayed with them.

“We were treated so well; there was plenty of food, and they took such good care of us. We thank everyone for taking such good care of us. They allowed us to have a double room so that we can be together. We couldn’t complain about the service we received, and we were treated well and cared for by people who were genuinely concerned about our health.

“We received three healthy meals a day, and it was so much food to eat that we decided to share meals and not waste the food by opening the second plate of food,” Ms Bruiners said.

They had not been permitted to lock their bedroom doors in case their health deteriorated suddenly, but Ms Bruiners said they had felt quite safe because security guards had been around.

Mr Bruiners said he had been very happy to see his wife.

“I felt so much better and was very happy that we could be together again. My spirit was lifted. Our family and friends sent us messages of support and love.”

Both were released from quarantine on Thursday July 2 and are happy to be back home with their family.

Ms Bruiners has resumed her volunteer work at a local feeding scheme and Mr Bruiners said that thanks to the care at the quarantine facility he could now use a walker – something he had battled with before.

“The place is wheelchair friendly, the staff are helpful and caring and the love I have for my wife grew even stronger. We bonded with each other and the place was peaceful,” he said. “I have called this place ‘heaven’ because the staff wore white outfits, they treated us well, the other people using the service were friendly and everyone was laughing and made me feel comfortable.”