KYLE Anderson has been just 25 minutes away from his wife and son for just over a month, but he might as well have been on the other side of the world - as he only got to see them this week.
Anderson was forced into isolation after testing positive for COVID-19 following a flight back from England to Australia in early March just before both countries went into coronavirus lockdown.
The World No.52 darts player spoke yesterday for the first time about how the last five or six weeks had affected him as he was forced to
stay on his own in a donga on a property owned by his wife Tara's family near Mt Morgan in Central Queensland.
Anderson flew back home alongside fellow professional Damon Heta and his wife Meghan to Perth before taking off on his own to Brisbane and
then on to Rockhampton in early March.
Heta and his wife escaped without catching the coronavirus, but Anderson, 32, was not so lucky.
"When I got back to Rocky they tested myself, Tara and Charles (Anderson's nine-year-old son)," Anderson told News Regional Media yesterday.
"They were cleared but I tested positive. So, I had to go into isolation."
Anderson, who is a diabetic, was expecting to be on his own away from his family for a couple of weeks but as he explains, he was in for a
longer time by himself.
"I think I tested positive five times over the next few weeks," he said.
"Every time they took a swab, I thought I would be cleared it came back positive.
"I wasn't showing symptoms but there was a chance I was still carrying the virus, so they did not want to take any chances."
Anderson said there was never a chance he would have to go to hospital during the past few weeks, but the worst part was having poor
internet coverage and next to no phone signal, meaning he had little or no contact with his loved ones.
"The coverage was s..., it did kill me," he said.
"I think I only got up to two megabytes. That was hell not being able to talk to anyone.
"I was getting my food brought to me and it was left outside the donga and there are four dogs on the property I played with every day, but
when I flew back 31 hours a few weeks ago it was to be with my family, and I couldn't see them. It was terrible.
“Of course I am away from the family a lot when I am playing in the UK but that’s by choice, this was hard to deal with because I had no control over it.”
Anderson eventually tested negative earlier this week and was reunited just in time with Charles to celebrate his ninth birthday on Thursday.
"I was glad I was out time to help him celebrate," he said.
"I thought when we flew home a few weeks ago, I would spend more time with him and the wife, but I haven't been able to do that, so now it's nice to be able to be a dad and a husband.
"The other guys on the tour get to see their families a lot more. I have to fly all that way and that cuts down on the time I get to spend here, so it’s nice now to focus on family time.”
Anderson's escape from his own lockdown has come just in time for him to take his turn on the Professional Darts Corporation's Home Tour.
He will be part of Group 23 on Sunday morning from about 5.30am (AEST).
Anderson will be hoping to emulate his best mate Heta's performance last week, as the Perth star became the first Aussie into the next
stage of the competition.
But Anderson said he did not expect too much from himself against the other players in his group - Daniel Larsson from Sweden, the
Netherlands' Dirk van Duijvenbode and Martin Schindler from Germany.
All three players are ranked lower than Anderson on the PDC Order of Merit, but the Aussie has not picked up a dart since returning Down Under.
"My focus has been on the family," he said.
"I only brought one set of darts and flights with me because I thought we would be here for a much shorter time.
"I haven't even got my darts shirt and obviously haven't practised much.
"Luckily the board I have in my garage has not been used much but it's not going to be pretty."
Anderson is not sure about what the next few months has in store for him or Heta, with travel restrictions expected to be in place for at
least the next few months.
Heta has returned to his former job as a roofer in Perth while on his enforced break, but Anderson has no work to fall back on.
Wife Tara does work, and she says it is more important that Anderson just focuses on himself, his health and family.
"It's not ideal," he said.
"But now it's all about the family.
"I can't see the players getting back out there until at least November of December, which is when the World Championships are on, and it
could be a lot longer for myself and Damon and it could be a problem for us to even get back to the UK at this stage