As Covid-19 rips through countries, cities and villages, it’s been in homes for the aged that its impact has been most felt. But it’s not just the virus that threatens – loneliness stalks, too.

At the Nomikeios Greek Old Age Home, the residents stand up one by one and begin to dance to a traditional Greek song played over a cellphone.

With the encouragement of the staff, some of the residents form a half-circle, raise their hands above their heads – as Greeks do – and sway slowly and stiffly, to the rhythm of a bouzouki.

The dance might as well have been a celebration, an act of joy to mark the end of a time of death, and the welcomed slow return to normality.

Care workers in full PPE assist a resident at the Nomikeios Greek Old Age Home. (Photo: Chris Collingridge)

For two weeks, the Covid-19 virus had swept through the Greek old age home that sits off a quiet street in Orange Grove, Johannesburg.

By the time the virus was finished with the home in early July, nine residents had died.

Four died in the home and five in hospital. But it was also a time of…



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