Life inside ‘this’ COVID-19 quarantine centre

Najooka Javier
Monday, 3 August 2020

“The anxiety of testing positive and going to a quarantine centre knew no bounds. But I have been here for the last four days, and it isn’t as bad as I thought it would be.” - Rajeev Raul.

As we celebrated entering the new decade with a lot of enthusiasm, little did we know that in a matter of weeks, the world would come to a standstill and the courses of our lives would change drastically... 

In response to the alarming increase in COVID-19 cases, countries build quarantine centres, COVID care centres and boosted the medical facilities as fast as they could. Nevertheless, the virus was successful at bringing the world to a halt. Within a few weeks, businesses, offices, school all shut down, dragging the economy and livelihoods along with it. 

While a vaccine is underway, it is uncertain when the humankind would be equipped with the shield that would act as the antidote to the virus. Meanwhile, doctors are battling the virus by treating its symptoms and banking on boosting immunity among the people. 

Recently I came in contact with a friend who is currently staying in a municipality quarantine centre in Dadar, Mumbai, after testing positive for COVID-19. He was cordial enough to share his experience with Sakal Times. 

“My elder sister had recently tested positive for COVID-19 and was admitted to the hospital. My mother and sister had also tested positive but luckily were asymptomatic and were asked to stay in a quarantine centre. Surprisingly, my father, grandmother and me tested negative and were sent back home,” said Rajeev Raul (name changed on request). 

He tested positive for the virus upon checking the second time in a month, without showing any symptoms.

“However, soon, my grandmother’s oxygen levels started to drop, and we had to get ourselves tested again. While she was admitted to the hospital, we were now asked shift to a quarantine centre,” he added. 

The thought of going to a quarantine centre is surely scary. Testing for a virus that is bringing the world down and isolating from the society definitely takes a toll on your mental health. Sharing his first-hand experience, Rajeev says, “The anxiety of testing positive and going to a quarantine centre knew no bounds. But I have been here for the last week now, and it isn’t as bad as I thought it would be.”

Sighting the example of his mother, he said, “At first my mother was very apprehensive of going to a quarantine centre, especially because she was worried about how people would react to it. But upon coming here and meeting people sharing similar issues, she felt more comfortable.”

Rajeev shares that the quarantine centre is like a community of people who continuously work towards motivating each other and keeping the spirits high.  

Talking about their daily schedule, Raul said, “We all wake up early in the morning and collect our teas. Breakfast is served around 10 am. We then go on to do our daily work confined to our beds. The doctor visits the centre for a daily check-up, and we are given medicines based on the symptoms (if any).”

“Though lunch and dinner are also provided by the municipal corporation at specific times, we are free to eat whenever we want,” he added.  

Fun evenings
“Our evenings are the most interesting as we spend time playing games and also regularly practice yoga. This was first started by a professional yoga teacher who was quarantined at this centre. Later she started training people and continued the practice,” said Rajeev. 

“We spend an hour doing yoga every day and also play games like Antakshari. People here have confessed that regular yoga practice made them feel healthy,” he added. 

Currently, these centres are directed to keep asymptomatic patients for ten days and then release them with a certificate. The patients are further directed to stay indoors for four more days after which they are permitted to step out of their homes.  

Sharing his thoughts on the pandemic, he says, “It is scary, of course, it is. The virus has bought the world to a halt and showed us times like never before. But finding a community that encourages you to stay motivated and fight the situation is what matters the most.” 

As we enter the fifth month of the lockdown, despite the relaxations, a sense of mundaneness has set in. People are still apprehensive about stepping out of their homes as the scare of contracting the virus still prevails. Amid such times, finding a community that keeps you strong is important.  

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