When Brazilian IT worker Helios and Russian saleswoman Luiza tied the knot in St Petersburg in mid-March, their plan was to emigrate to Texas, where he was due to start a new job in May.
But the coronavirus put paid to that, and now they are honeymooning in her one-bedroom flat in the locked-down city, taking brisk walks with Cherry the dog as their authorised form of daily exercise.
"I came here with one bag, with maybe five or six items of clothing. I was not prepared, but I don't think anyone was," said Helios, 34, who was previously based in Warsaw.
"For me it's a lifesaver that I am here because I have my wife, so I am happy."
Luiza, 29, is happy too, though the fact that her job contract expires at the end of April is a worry.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
Helios says his U.S. job offer is still valid, but a potential start date has not been discussed. The Brazilian's biggest concern, however, is the health of his parents back home in Goiás, west of Brasilia.
"I am trying to call every day, I really miss them," he said. "But now I have a new family with Luiza."Follow our full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic here.