He stated that “the worst part” was not knowing when he would be able get out. “You feel almost like you are back in school, with a set wake-up and bedtime (and) the inability to control what food you can eat.”
Chan flew from London on December 19th to Hong Kong to start a new career.
Chan stated that he had been fully vaccinated and had previously tested negative for Covid-19 multiple times prior to his flight. He said that he was mentally ready for quarantine but not for what came next.
Chan had to take a Covid-19 test upon arrival in Hong Kong. Chan waited at the airport for several hours before he was allowed to go. He was given a preliminary positive result, meaning that he had to go through another test. The test was completed and he was moved to a secure area with a bed made of straw.
Chan admitted that “it was definitely a bit a shell shock.” “I had done many tests during the week before my flight and none of them returned negative. I never thought that I’d actually be positive at arrival.
Chan was transported by ambulance to a hospital nearby for further testing 13 hours after his plane touched down. However, it was later determined that he had the Omicron variant.
“(I felt) a feeling of dread. It was like, “Oh, God, what’s happening now?” He said. “I felt very trapped. You can’t just tell yourself, ‘I’m going back on a plane and go somewhere else.’ It’s quite scary to feel like you are trapped.
When they test positive in Hong Kong for Covid-19, it’s not only travelers who are at risk of indefinite hospitalization.
Hong Kong recently identified Omicron cases in a cluster connected to aircrew, breaking the nearly three-month streak without locally transmitted Covid infections. All confirmed Omicron cases have been sent to the hospital.
Many people, including many restaurant staff, who were close to positive cases, have been transferred to the government camp where they will undergo extensive testing and isolation for 21 days. Positive results will result in a transfer to the hospital.
Anyone who has been in the same place as the positive cases over the past few days has been asked to take a test. Additionally, several residential buildings connected to the cluster have been temporarily closed for testing.
Carrie Lam, the leader of Hong Kong, said Tuesday that Omicron transmission fears are growing and that normal travel between Hong Kong and mainland China “will have to wait for another while.”
Lam reiterated Hong Kong’s zero-Covid stance just before the cluster emerged.
She stated that Hong Kong had taken stringent measures to prevent the importation of cases in order to maintain zero local infection. We need to be more vigilant in the face of Omicron’s relentless attack.
Stuck in the Hospital
Hong Kong authorities state that anyone who tests positive to Covid-19 is required to stay in isolation for at least a month, even if they’re not symptomatic. They must stay at the hospital for at minimum 10 days. Once they are negative, they cannot leave until they are positive again.
However, even if your test results are negative twice, that doesn’t necessarily mean you can return home. After this, people who have been placed under confinement are sent to an isolation center for 14 more days.
Chan was immediately placed in isolation with two other Omicron positive travelers upon his arrival at the hospital. Chan is now confined to his bedroom 24 hours a days, and he has no access to fresh air or exercise outside.
The hospital sets a daily routine for him. He is awakened by a jingle from the public address system at 8 AM and an announcement reminding his to take his vitals.
The hospital provides meals at set times. He enjoys spending his day on social media, connecting with friends and family, and watching Netflix.
He said that he thought it was probably the early or mid-afternoon hours that were the most difficult times of the day. You check your email or social media in the morning. By lunchtime, however, you are unable to focus on your work.
Although he stated that his doctors are professional, he cannot be discharged until they tell him. “It depends on when my positive tests stop, and then they begin the final countdown,” he stated.
Isolation has a psychological impact
According to government figures, Hong Kong has recorded more than 12,600 cases of pandemic and 213 deaths since the outbreak. This is far less than other cities comparable in size around the globe.
Covid-19 is most dangerous to the elderly who are at greatest risk for death or hospitalization.
On December 29, the Hong Kong government stated that its strict measures will not be abandoned, including its large-scale quarantine center.
According to the statement, “Recently the global epidemic situation has gotten worsened significantly due to the Omicron variation.” “The Government must remain vigilant to prevent a fifth-wave epidemic or outbreak in this community. After assessing the situation holistically, and prudently, it is decided that all rooms at the PBQC should be reserved [Penny’s Bay Quarantine Centre]to fulfill the quarantine purpose.”
“In general, there’s an increase in isolation, anxiety and, in some severe cases post-traumatic stress,” stated Dr. Elisabeth Wong of Hong Kong.
She added that there are ways to keep your mental health good.
Wong explained that there are some tricks that you can use, such as making sure your day is planned out clearly. You should have work and rest periods, and, if possible, some exercise in your day.
She said that people who go through quarantine may not see it as a punishment but as an act of altruism. She said, “You’re doing something for the society.”
Chan expressed concern about Chan’s mental health as his indefinite isolation continues to grow.
He said, “I’m trying rationalize it. I think just going through it knowing there are some things you can and cannot change… The only thing I can change it is how I approach and what I do with it.”
He said, “The best thing about it, I suppose, is being able see things from a different perspective.” “I’m trying to make it useful and interesting so that I can look back at it one day and recall the time when I was in a hospital for X amount of days.”