Published: 06:00, 17 October 2020
| Updated: 11:57, 17 October 2020
A pair of friends have had the holiday from hell after being forced to isolate in a hotel room for six weeks due to coronavirus - and one of them is still there.
Pals Lee Friar and Matt Ormerod, both from Sittingbourne, set off to the Algarve, Portugal, with their partners and another couple in early September for a weekend away.
Now, more than a month later, Lee is still trapped in a small hotel room, while Matt returned to England on Monday.
While in the Algarve, it was announced anyone returning to the UK would face a two-week quarantine on arrival from the European country.
In an attempt to avoid quarantine, they travelled to Madeira where they were told they could avoid any isolation period.
However, when the group of six landed on the island, they were tested for the virus and told to wait in their rooms at their new hotel until results came back within 24 hours.
The next day, half of the group - Matt, Lee and his partner Katie Harrison - found out they had tested positive for Covid-19 and were told they had to stay in their rooms, while the rest of the group jetted back to England.
The trio were left waiting in their rooms, with no contact with anyone else, apart from being able to speak to others from a small balcony.
Katie, from Faversham, returned a negative test after three weeks and was allowed to return home on the day she found out, while Matt only returned home this week.
The 37-year-old pipe fitter said: "It's scarred me to be honest. What we thought was going to be a maximum of two weeks has turned out three times as long.
"It's so hard to get your head around it all when you're in that room all alone. I had to turn my phone off for a few days as although everyone was ringing me to see how I was, it was driving me insane as I was just repeating myself.
"I didn't want to talk to anyone. Everyone's trying to support you, but you think you've been forgotten about.
"It feels like six weeks of my life have been stolen from me."
"After the two-week quarantine we had another test and if it was positive you have to wait another seven days or so. I had around seven tests out there.
"You tell yourself that you'll be going home soon but when that result comes back it hits you like a tonne of bricks."
The father-of-six, of Peony Crescent, admitted he is glad to be home but is feeling guilty his friend Lee is still stuck in the hotel alone.
"I feel a bit bad because I know how hard it is. There's not much to do and the food isn't great. I lost about a stone and a half from living on bread rolls for the majority of the time."
Lee, of Langley Road, Sittingbourne, is stuck in limbo as he waits for the results of his seventh test, which he took on Wednesday.
The 42-year-old dad-of-three said: "The worst part of this nightmare is waiting for the results, because you don't know whether you'll be heading home or staying for another week.
"I'm missing my family and my kids massively. It's really hard being stuck here when you know they're at home. It feels like six weeks of my life have been stolen from me."
The welder, whose children are eight, 14 and 16, has struggled to find things to do in the room, which has two beds, a small table, balcony and a TV.
"There's only about three channels on the TV, with one being Doctor Who," he said.
"I'm not even a fan of it but I must have watched every episode now.
"The strange thing is that I feel completely fine. I've had colds which are worse than this, yet I'm trapped in my room like a prisoner.
"I think prison would be better than this actually. At least then you can speak to other people and get an hours exercise."
Lee received a call from the Foreign Office yesterday and was told they are looking into getting him home as soon as possible.
"When I had my partner and Matt with me, it was still not nice, but you knew you were going through the same as others, but now they're gone it's gotten really hard," he added.
"I was planning to go to Turkey with the children next July but I'm not in any rush to go abroad now, especially if this is still around."
The group are not sure where they contracted the virus but Matt thinks they may have got it when travelling from the Algarve to Madeira by plane.