Quarantine

by C. D.

When I was growing up, I was always under the impression that the word ‘quarantine’ was only associated with animals. When my pet dog bit someone, the authorities took him away and quarantined him to test for rabies infection.  When a pet dog is traveling abroad to a certain country, he would be quarantined for some time before being released to the owner.

 

With the present Covid-19 pandemic, the word quarantine for human being has now being commonly used worldwide these days.

 

I have been vaccinated against Covid-19 four times.  For the last 3 years, I have been traveling overseas and managed to safe guard myself to avoid being ‘bugged’. Wearing a mask, fist bumping friends and performing hand hygiene frequently was the order of the day.  Even when wearing a mask was not mandatory in some countries, I continued to wear it.  I have even been quarantined for 14, 7 and 3 days a few times and luckily managed to avoid being infected.

 

No way did I escape the ‘bugger’! As someone said ‘never say never’. On my recent trip overseas, the bugger got my throat.  Infected with a sore throat, I first thought it was due to contaminated ice from the G&T I had the night before. Along with it came fever. This continued the second day and for both days my Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) displayed Negative. On the third day, the RAT displayed Positive. The bug’s incubation period took 2 days to finally show up. Sensibly, I isolated myself and kept monitoring my temperature and RAT tests.  The temperature dropped on the third day and the red marker on T slowly kept fading away from day 7 onwards. Finally, on the 10th day, RAT displayed Negative clearly. What a relief!

 

With a clear sign of recovery, I flew back to Hong Kong. On arrival, I had to take a mandatory PCR test at the airport before returning home. The next day, I received a message from the Health Authorities, that I had been tested Positive. I realised that the PCR test for nose and throat was quite sensitive and probably the bug had not fully left my body.  I was instructed to self isolate for 7 days at home and test myself daily using a RAT kit. 

 

My daily RAT test during my isolation period tested negative and I submitted the results to the health authorities as evidence. All went well and I was free to venture out on the seventh day.

 

I was planning to have myself retested using PCR, but after research I found out that a substantial clinical review of the latest evidence and testing data had been done and from now on, if someone tests positive with a PCR test, they should not be tested using PCR for 90 days, unless they develop new symptoms during that time, in which case they should be retested immediately using PCR. This 90 day period is from the initial onset of symptoms or, if asymptomatic when tested, their positive test result.

 

This silent, invisible Covid-19 virus is mysterious and I can never figure out how I got it. No matter how much precautions I took, it got me. Wonder if my 4 vaccinations are loosing their effective power? Do I require a booster every year? Hopefully, I now have enough antibodies to protect me against it in the future.