With the rise of community cases, many have had to isolate themselves at home to slow down the spread of COVID-19. Those who have been in close contact with cases don’t even get to go home and are placed in quarantine in Singapore at a hotel.
In the case of The Straits Times correspondent Venessa Lee, she was faced with a new challenge as a mother when her son was quarantined after being in close contact with an infected case.
Son Placed Under Quarantine At A Hotel In Singapore
Image source: Screengrab from Facebook / The Straits Times
On 14 May, Venessa’s 12-year-old son Micah was placed on a leave of absence after being in close contact with someone confirmed to be infected with COVID-19. Her son attends St Stephen’s School where a positive case was recently reported.
Later on that night, Venessa was contacted by officials from the Ministry of Health (MOH). They informed her that her son would need to be placed under a quarantine order in a hotel – as mandatory in Singapore. She was also told that Micah needs to have an accompanying adult to go with him.
Both mother and son frantically packed their bags for when they were to be picked up. While they thought they would be quarantined by 15 May, no one came. Venessa and her husband hoped that they could continue with self-quarantine since Micah showed no symptoms.
But come Sunday (16 May) night, both mum and son were picked up by a while shuttle bus. She couldn’t help but empathise with her daughter who cried knowing they were to be quarantined. The driver and escort in the vehicle wore full personal protective equipment.
As they made their way to the hotel, Venessa started asking herself, “Why did each person who called me not seem to know what the next step was, for us?”
Both Mother And Son To Stay In The Hotel Until 26 May
Image source: iStock
Venessa was relieved to find that the hotel room they were going to be staying at was “cosy” and that their “invisible host generous.”
She even says that if it were in different terms, they could have been “on a staycation.” They were even provided with two boxes of 24 mineral water bottles each.
“As the days rolled on, that sense of being on a staycation only intensified, surprising me. I hadn’t expected not to feel like I was in jail,” writes Venessa.
Although Venessa admits that there have been “prison-like” moments during their stay. The mother-and-son duo would follow a routine each day. They take and record their temperatures three times a day. They are also given balanced yet “unexciting” meals that consist of rice, fruit, vegetables and meat.
On Monday (17 May), they were taken to a COVID-19 test centre in Bishan for her son to take a swab test. Venessa notices how some of Micah’s peers were there as well.
Eventually, on Wednesday, Micah’s test results thankfully came back negative. Despite the good news, Venessa still feels saddened to know how other children were suffering. They even found out that another student from St Stephen’s School was infected.
She writes, “Micah and I don’t mind working and learning from home with our laptops in bed. Yet the frequent notifications and check-ins from school – like every pupil would have had after nationwide home-based learning began on Wednesday – to keep up with assignments, felt like an insistence on normality when nothing was normal.”
How Quarantine Taught Her A Valuable Lesson
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Being quarantined took a toll on Venessa. She describes how updating her friends about their current situation has become a chore. She found she no longer had the energy to talk about what she was going through when the rest of the world was in COVID-19 Mark 3.
But Venessa managed to find light in the situation when a friend of hers sent a marble cheesecake by delivery. She writes how it tasted of “chocolate milk and friendship.”
“Despite my churlishness, what sustains us is the undeserved kindness of friends and family,” says Venessa.
With this, the mother found how quarantine has taught her that there really are some things so precious that she doesn’t want to talk about them. Her son’s health and wellbeing would be one of them.
“Yet as I hug the child I have with me at night, I cannot wait to feel the warm arms of the other child waiting for me at home,” she writes.