Monday, June 14th, after the meeting call with my boss I got a call from unfamiliar number. The person at the other end said he was from Ministry of Health (MOH) and confirmed my personal data that he had and told me I got a Stay Home Notice due to contact with a COVID-19 case. What?! Stay Home Notice means I can’t go out from my place at all, even to throw away my trash on refused chute. He also told me during these 48 hours someone from Quarantine Service will call me and arrange for the pick up so I need to prepare clothes and other stuffs to stay in the quarantine facility for 5 days.
After the call ended, I spoke to my friends and they suggested me to confirm it with the COVID-19 hotline number in case it’s a scam. I was quite sure that it was not, because the person didn’t ask for money or document and he sounded legit. But then there is no harm of checking so I did it anyway. I called the hotline number on Ministry of Health (MOH) website. Once connected, I told her I that I got a call from someone who claimed to be from MOH and I want to confirm whether the call was a scam or not. She asked me what is the number that call me. I gave it it her and she did a check. After a while, she got back at me and told me that the number is registered in their database, which means the number is genuine and not a scam. Oh well, this is happening then!
So it’s real that I can’t go out.. And my next thought was how am I gonna walk my dog?? Since I can’t walk outside, I quickly contacted my friend to ask her take care of my dog as soon as possible. Luckily, another friend who’s staying at the same place with me able to help me with the arrangement so the transfer of my dog to another friend was going smoothly. One problem solved. Some friends asked me why don’t I keep my dog at home to keep me company. The reason was simple. She can’t use pee tray so she will hold it until she can go out, so she has to go on a walk. Therefore, as much as I want to keep her at home, I prefer her healthy routine to be maintained.
I was curious about the quarantine so I called the number that the person gave me. It got connected to their Customer Service. I asked her when will they come to pick me up and can I just stay at my home since I live alone, but she couldn’t answer me. She told me to wait for a call from the officer and when prompted about the pick up I could request to stay at home. Alright then, let’s just wait for the call.
Now, I’m gonna share what did I need to do during the quarantine and other informations that might help you in case you got a call from MOH (hopefully not) :
1. The next day, at 6am MOH sent an SMS to notify the official arrangement for the quarantine. On the SMS, I was told to download an app called Homer. Once I downloaded the app, I need to insert the post code of quarantine location and that I have to stay within that location the whole time or else they will fine me. By that time, I was not sure where would I be so I didn’t continue with the app. MOH keep sending the SMS about the quarantine but I had no idea why they did it. Then someone called me from MOH and asked me to download the app. I explained to him about my situation with the location and he said to just put my home post code. In the end, I inputted my home address post code with the assumption I could quarantined at home.
2. It’s no use to call the Quarantine Service number. The customer service will always ask you to wait for an officer to call you. When I was wondering about my quarantine location, I called them and in the end I still have to wait for the call.
3. Keep your phone with you all the time. They will call you at random time, and sometime video call as well.
4. Submit the report on Homer app right on time. I had to submit my temperature reading and other symptoms (if any) on the app 3 times a day during specific time range (8 – 10am, 1 – 3pm, and 6 -8pm). Sometimes I forgot to submit it and someone would immediately call me, even when I was late for 1 minute. So, if you don’t want to be bothered by the call, just submit them on time 😀
5. If you’re staying alone, you can request for Home Quarantine. They will send someone to your place and do the checking / interview to see whether you are eligible. I also found out if I chose the facility, it was in a hotel and mine was supposed to be at Hotel Swissotel The Stamford, which is quite nice I think. But no matter how good the hotel is, I prefer to stay at home. I got all my entertainment to accompany me! And secondly, if I chose to go to hotel, they will pick me up in a full cover and it might cause a commotion then.. (unless, of course, when you had no other choice).
6. If you have to go to the facility, prepare enough clothes, entertainment (books, ipad, Nintendo switch, laptop, etc), and also dining utensils (bowl, cutlery, knife to cut the fruit, glass, etc). They will provide food at the facility (most likely in Hotel), but according to my friend, who’s been in quarantine, you might get bored after 2 days eating the same menu, so you would end up ordering food delivery as well. They won’t provide utensils as it’s a precaution.
7. You can’t meet anyone at all. When you order food delivery or when your friend come over to deliver something, you can’t see them and received the item. You need to tell them to put the item/food in front of your door and leave it, then when they leave, you can pick it up. While it is true that no one will know if you meet them, I think as a ‘suspect’, we have a responsibility to protect others. Assume we could bring danger to others so it’s better to be careful.
8. Garbage disposal. I need to rely on a friend to throw away my garbage. I put them inside plastic bag, tied them up and left them in front of my door. Then my friend, who is my neighbour, took it and helped me throw it away. I’m really grateful for this friend! Imagine to keep the garbage for a whole week, how disgusting the smell would be.
9. Need to do swab test two times. The first one was supposed to be done on second day of quarantine but they were late. They just came late night on 4th day without notice. He told me gonna do 2 times swab for ART and PCR test. The swab for PCR test was horrible! The ART result was fast. Within few minutes, it showed Negative result. The PCR result was announced the next day by SMS. Although, I’ve found out the result through Health Hub App first (This app is amazing btw). It was negative as well. Then on the day before last day of quarantine, another person came to do swab PCR test. This time with notice. He called me before and came at promised time. He did the throat and nose swab. My first time doing throat swab and it wasn’t that bad. The person was really gentle and patient. This time they didn’t even notify me the result! I only saw it at Health Hub App. It was negative 🙂
10. “Where did you get it? Who was the person?“. Many of my friends asked me this question. When I told them I didn’t ask, they said “Why don’t you ask?”. I don’t think knowing the person or where were you can help you in any way. I don’t see the importance of it, so I don’t need to know. I did asked the officer out of curiosity, and he said only the Contact Tracing Officer know the detail but even so they can only tell you the date. Not much helpful either eh?
11. “Check from your Trace Together App. You can see it under ‘possible exposure’ tab”. Some of friends also told me this. They must have thought I didn’t know about this tab on the app lol. Well, I checked my Trace Together App to see if this exposure was record on “Possible Exposure” Tab but it wasn’t. So, apparently you can get a Quarantine Order even tho there is no possible exposure on the app.
The last thing I wanna share is the mentality when this happened. I understand that some of my friends were curious and care for my well-being so they asked those questions. Some of them also offered me help to deliver food or ordering something, which is very helpful. Although, they only asked in the beginning and later on seemed like everyone’s moving on with their busy life. So, if you really need help, do not hesitate to ask for it.
Some people might suspected you go to ‘dangerous area’ hence you got the quarantine order. It sucks, but normal reaction. I hate it when people started to ‘accuse’ me doing something bad that brought this QO to me but then I must remember it’s a normal reaction during this pandemic. Therefore I tried to reply them still in a nice way or just ignore them lol. Why bother with toxic people, right?
Most important thing when we serve on quarantine order is to keep on positive thinking and enjoy your ‘relax’ time in quarantine. Do something you like, something that can divert your attention if you get panic easily. Or you can get busy with your work as well. You still can do your office work at home/facility. Anxiety doesn’t help you overcome this. We need our immune system to work by feeding it with happy thoughts 😀
People thought I got bored by staying at home for a week. In fact, not at all lol. I enjoyed it. Yes it suck can’t go outside. But well, I can’t do anything about it, so why ruin my mood by thinking of something I can’t do?! If I can’t go out, then let’s do something fun at home! 🙂
Thanks for reading this long post. I wish you all stay healthy and safe. Wear mask and wash hand frequently ( I know.. heard this so many times right? Lol). You can share your quarantine story with me as well or if you’re currently under quarantine, please comment below.