State of Covid-19 in Timor-Leste

17 June 2021

Covid-19 hit Timor-Leste very hard in March 2020. Since then the country had to stop incoming flights and the country was put in lockdown. Though, 2020 was considered a stressful year for most Timorese, we were still allowed to travel around the country, visiting families, friends, and attending some social gatherings were still permitted due to no evidence of local transmission cases. The year 2021, is the worst year, since the presence of covid-19, given that since the first identified local transmission, it instantly put the entire country in panic. With the extended state of emergency which includes the limitation of people movement, and solitary confinement for people with symptoms caused more panic, economic collapse, hunger (for those coming to Dili for studying), and more.

USP PACRES project, the project that requires mostly social gathering for training and consultations, most of its activities has to be suspended. Dili as the capital where most of the local transmission is now occurred has been isolated and none can move in or out unless with authorization from Centru Integradu de Jestaun de Krize (Integrated Crisis Management Center). Therefore, the activities to be carried out in USP PACRES target locations have been suspended until the restrictions are lifted and in-country travel is permitted. However, phone calls with stakeholders in the field remains, and with national stakeholders the exchange of information remains through emails and other virtual means.

In the capital, most staff and project coordinators are working from home. Working from home is truly unlike office work, because it seems that the concentration and productivity is reduced. Coordination with colleagues is minimized and takes more time to consult something that normally takes only 5-10 minutes if it is in office. Virtual meetings are not really an issue, because sitting in front of a computer, working has become a habit, just the ambience has changed.

Work from home does not really cause stress because although it was mandated to work from home, it does not really apply to those work for the government, so we could still go to the office half day depending on the necessity to coordinate work.

However, spending more time at home with less work load than normal, instead, experiencing more fatigue, so whenever possible and allowed I bike alone around the city to maintain in shape. To manage my stress, I accommodate with playing musical instruments, watching soccer games, and serial tv shows.

Nowadays that I have received my full shot of vaccines, I am awaiting to go back in the field and work normally like before.

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