‘With low immunity I don’t want to mix with crowds in lifts, so I’m stuck in my tower block flat’

“I’m petrified to be honest. I live on the 13th floor of a tower block in Barton Hill, in Bristol, and it’s really difficult at the moment trying to protect yourself and not mix with others as the Government says.

“I had my spleen removed in 1977 and so my immune system is very low and I have to take penicillin for the rest of my life. So I’m self-isolating with my partner Tracy and trying to keep away from people as much as possible

“Getting up and down the lifts to get out to go shopping or get some air is really difficult. Just the other day I had to wait a while for an empty one because I don’t want to get in with lots of other people all crowded together. It’s hard to stand two metres from someone in our lifts. But even if you get into an empty one people get in when it stops at the other floors.

“Then there’s the issue of everyone pressing the same buttons and possibly leaving traces of things on them. I don’t know if the council could put some masks or sanitizer gel in the lifts for people.

“I can’t walk up and down all these stairs all the time if I want to go out, because of my health condition. It’s difficult.

“There’s other issues as well, like the communal laundry on the ground floor. I don’t really want to mix too close to people down there while this is going on.

“There’s not been much advice put out by anyone for people who live in tower blocks about what they should be doing and what can be done for us. Will food deliveries be made to our door? Will they put notices up to stop lift crowding? We’re not getting basic info.”

“My daughter is a housing officer and a support worker, she counts as a key worker. She says she will bring me food because she doesn’t want me going out because I’m at high risk because of my spleen.

“Luckily I’ve got enough penicillin to last me a couple of weeks, but after that I may have to get her or someone else to get it for me if I can’t manage it..

“I’ve got family in Italy and they sit at their balconies talking to each other and trying to enjoy life a bit, or as much as they can. But we haven’t got balconies to go out onto in our block. It’s really stuffy staying in all day without any fresh air. I can open my windows of course, but there’s a few people near me who smoke cannabis and I don’t like it when the smell drifts into the flat.

“This morning my ex-partner asked me if I could take my son, who is blind and has special needs, but that’s going to be really difficult for us because of where we live and it won’t be great for him either.

“Tracy had a call from her work this morning saying they were closing. It’s a shop selling household products and it’s shutting. She’s the manager and she’s waiting to hear what the arrangements will be for people’s wages. That’s another massive headache for people.”

As told to Patrick Sawer

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