Views from individuals in quarantine

Desups guard a quarantine center in the capital

SHERAB DORJI

Thimphu

While being confined in a room with an unknown roommate for twenty-one days could be frustrating for some, many are relieved of the fact that the costs are being borne by the state.

However, a few sections are of the view that the mandatory quarantine has become questionable today given the varied nature of the virus with community cases still emerging from different pockets. Nonetheless, people who went through the ordeals of being confined in hotel rooms for weeks have their own opinions.

Jamyang Tempa, 33, who is currently being quarantined at a hotel in Paro says that it was an opportunity to stay in a three-star resort as he could never imagine or afford to do so in his lifetime. A few others in quarantine also shared similar views as it was their first time to have experienced such luxuries. 

Jamyang, a monk at Sikkim who recently returned due to health issues, said the quarantine period was a boon for him as he met an unknown person as his roommate and that they have grown to become close friends today.

“My teacher at the university suggested me to return home at the earliest as it was risky for me to stay there. The hospital is also far from the place where we study,” he said. 

Jamyang shares that he felt guilt-struck as he was returning home sick. However, he said that he had no other alternatives than to return home where he hope he will recover.

Phurba Tamang, who was stranded at Wangduephodrang after the lockdown, recollects that it was a nightmare for him as it took almost a week for him to register into a quarantine facility in order to return back to Thimphu where he lives.  

He said today he is at ease as he finally got registered and quarantined, and that it will now be possible for him to work online and be home soon.

However, a few others in quarantine vented their dismay at the food provided at the facilities not being enough. “At first I just ate whatever amount was provided to me as I didn’t have the gumption to ask for more when it was being provided free. However, after a few days I met a few new friends on duty with whom I confided my desire to provide more amount of rice which they willingly did,” he said.  

He added that it was a good time for leisure as he kept watching the television for the whole day, and could also socialise with his loved ones as internet was being provided free.

Tshering, 25, who completed his quarantine shared that they will still have to be cautious as there have been incidents where individuals tested positive even after having completed the mandatory quarantine period.

In addition, individuals who are coming from outside are only made to stay 14-days in quarantine provided they received the third booster dose. However, for those who didn’t receive the booster jabs they are made to complete 21 days in quarantine. Similarly, domestic travellers commuting within the country from red dzongkhags are made to undergo seven-day quarantine.   

Meanwhile, movement of stranded people from Phuntsholing are presently kept in hold as the health ministry has prioritise travel for only stranded students and teacher, and those with medical emergencies.