Editor’s note: The Virus Diaries is a series in which Mainers talk about how they are affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

Lane Klossner of South Berwick was visiting Spain on March 14 when the country announced a national lockdown to combat the spread of coronavirus. At first she thought she could turn it into a positive.

“Quarantine with a sunny roof terrace, a hammock, and a view of the port seemed preferable to mud season in New England,” she said of her vantage point on one of  the Spanish islands, staying in Palma de Mallorca.

But five days later, as the two-week lockdown looked like it could become indefinite, Klossner, 23, was scrambling for flights to get back to the United States.

“I hadn’t been concerned until that moment,” she said, “when it hit me that I must go now or be prepared to stay till who-knows-when.”

Klossner was five months into a post-graduation trip (she attended Tulane University) through eastern Europe and Spain, living in Palma and working as a nanny. She planned to leave for Bosnia in two weeks, and did not think the coronavirus would alter her plans.


Then she heard of the lockdown. People were able to leave their homes only to purchase food and medicine, or for essential tasks.

“I had decided to stick it out in Spain for two weeks and reassess the situation then,” Klossner said.

“I first left my apartment two days after the lockdown. … One car passed me on the five-minute walk. I crossed intersections without waiting for cars that didn’t exist. Through the week, people made way on the sidewalk, crossing into the road to ensure we kept our distance.

“By (March 18), a countrywide practice of 8 p.m. balcony meetings was firmly entrenched. Everyone knew to go out on balconies or open windows to cheer for healthcare professionals across Spain. Each night, we heard clapping and cheering coming from all directions. Every balcony we could see had people on it.

“On (the next day), I learned the U.S. government had said all U.S. citizens should either return home or be prepared to stay abroad indefinitely. I slept on the options. By the time I woke up, most flights from Palma to London had been canceled – British Airways still had one flight a day from Palma to London … about four times the typical price for that trip, and they were quickly filling up.

“I was (then) only able to find one direct flight from London to Boston, which I immediately bought, with encouragement from my worried parents.


“At Palma airport on Sunday, March 22, the one check-in desk had a 60-foot line, including the two meters between each family. On the half-full flight to London, I was alone in my row. I spent that night in a dark corner of the Costa coffee shop in Gatwick Airport. During my six sleepless hours, a single flight landed. I took an empty 50-minute bus ride to a bustling Heathrow Airport, where life continued as usual with people crowded together, which felt weirder than the empty Gatwick. The flight to Boston was three-quarters full and I sat directly next to someone.

“At Boston Logan, 30 people were allowed to deplane at a time. We filled out forms, detailing our travels and any symptoms we had felt so far. Someone took my temperature – a perfect 98.6 – and told me the signs of coronavirus and how to properly isolate.

“I am back in South Berwick, squished into the one corner of weak sunlight that’s hitting our couch. I’m glad to be back with my family, though staying six feet away. In the meantime, I’m taking my temperature twice a day and emailing the Maine CDC twice a week, as instructed. I am wondering when I will next be able to pack up my bag and head to parts unknown, and what the world will look like then.”

Do you have a story to share about how you are affected by the coronavirus outbreak? Email us at virus@pressherald.com

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