ST Forumer unhappy with COVID-19 handling after quarantine was extended to 21 days; he’s not the only one

An ST Forumer by the name of Osman Mahmud Durrani was tested positive for COVID-19 on his return to Singapore on Jan 17.

Mr Durrani was not happy with how he was treated by the Singaporean authorities and wrote a letter to ST Forum to complain about his treatment here in Singapore. The letter was published on ST today (‘Forum: Quarantine period lengthened and I was asked to share a room‘, 4 Feb).

“My symptoms were minimal, and I was admitted to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases for two weeks of observation,” Mr Durrani explained.

On the 13th day, when he had almost completed his two-week quarantine, he was moved to D’Resort, a community isolation facility.

“My quarantine period had somehow been increased from 14 to 21 days without any explanation,” he complained.

“The World Health Organisation and Centres for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines require 10 to 14 days of quarantine, especially if there are no symptoms. If a longer quarantine was needed, there should have been clear communication. Why am I still in quarantine wasting government resources?”

Then on reaching D’Resort, he said he was told to share a room with another person. “I was shocked to be asked to share a room, considering I had not tested negative and was being paired with another patient,” he said.

“The D’Resort team said that room-sharing was the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) decision, but when I contacted MOH, it said it was a D’Resort policy.”

Mr Durrani further added that he suffers from various medical conditions and as such, he cannot share a room with other people. He said, “I have anxiety and suffer from blood pressure and other medical conditions. Finally, when I produced a medical letter and had a discussion with the medical team at the resort, it was confirmed that I did not need to share a room.”

He also complained that sharing a room with strangers causes “mental stress”.

“I am appalled at how this situation was managed. If cost is a consideration, then why not ask the person to pay for the room, rather than force complete strangers to share a room, which causes mental stress,” he said.

“I hope my predicament will be noted and the matter raised with MOH to avoid pain for those affected in future.”

Quarantined after close contact tests positive after two negative tests and 14-days SHN

Mr Duraini isn’t the only one who has experience the sudden increase in quarantine durations. Lawyer Jeannette Chong-Aruldoss recalled in a Facebook on Thursday (4 February) how she was informed on 3 February that she has come in close contact with a COVID-19 positive case two days prior and would therefore need to be quarantined.

“I was incredulous because the case had cleared two Covid-19 tests, on 4 Jan and again on 17 Jan,” Ms Chong-Aruldoss wrote, adding that the case tested positive for the virus two weeks after completing her Stay Home Notice (SHN) on 20 January.

Upset about having to quarantine, Ms Chong-Aruldoss said she was given a “small respite” when the MOH officer informed her that her 14 days quarantine period would be back dated to the date of exposure on 1 February, meaning that she would complete her quarantine on 15 February.

“I had no time to mentally and actually prepare for the days of isolation ahead,” she recounted, explaining that she was taken to the designated hotel that very evening to serve out the quarantine.

After a sleepless first night, Ms Chong-Aruldoss said, “I resolved to regain my composure and to make plans to complete the journey purposefully.”

Unfortunately, there was more bad news when the MOH officer told her that her quarantine would be extended by another seven days.

“As the case had tested positive after two negative tests and SHN, they were not sure what they were dealing with,” she wrote.

“Hence, a longer quarantine period was mandated for her close contacts. My last day was extended to 22 Feb.”

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