What is it like to travel to Singapore and serve a 14-day quarantine?

Four months ago, I spent two weeks alone staying in a room with no balcony like an aquarium designed for humans, located at Holiday Inn Express Clark Quay, Singapore. As part of a Stay Home Notice (SHN), I was not allowed to step even one meter from my room unless for a swab test on the eleventh day of quarantine. Otherwise, I will charge around a thousand dollars for breaking the rule.

Prior to this, I was preparing for this departure to Singapore for study MA purposes for around three weeks with my own anxiety on whether I can leave Indonesia or not, whether I would diagnose positive or negative two days right before the flight, whether I am able to fly safely there or not. Luckily, I went through these concerns eventually, passing all possibilities, even though the covid situation particularly in my hometown was even worse, some of my relatives, neighbors, and friends were tested positive for Covid-19.

I had set my timeline to depart on 17 December 2020 with all travel requirements fulfilled thanks to short coordination with my 7 friends who travel separately. otherwise, I would get overwhelmed with the abundance of documents needed as well as payment for both state customs regulations.

On that day too, the Airbus I fly with only carried 7 passengers, 5 of them were economic class ticket holders who hold a student visa, working visa and the other two as a permanent resident. Around one hour and half, it seems like the passengers owned the airplane.

Shortly after arrival, the situation of Changi Airport was not the same as in 2016 I went there. This unprecedented pandemic makes the number of travelers fewer than the airport staff due to travel restrictions. There was a list of states in a place my passport get stamped, mentioning which countries must serve for 5 days, 7 days, and 14 days, and I got the longest one.

The bus was waiting outside the airport for those who get the small sticker refers to the duration of SHN to take to the hotels. No idea what hotel I get, many of my friends made a joke to wish to stay at the luxury one, near Marina Bay. In the end, none of us lucky.

By the time I arrived at the hotel the staff questioning me about the food preference, Malay, Chinese, or Indian food, vegan or not, and ensuring am I smoke or not.

The next day I woke up, the room bell was ringing, the staff put the food right in front of the door. Seconds after I open it, I see none, just a package of food, a fruit, and a juice. This package I got is for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I just wonder do these staff afraid of us (quarantiners) or it is what it is to undergo SHN.

My cycle of SHN life seems boring but I can deal with it. Video calling families is the top priority over others. Fortunately, there are zoom meetings, conferences, seminars that I attend virtually that almost forget my own situation. If getting bored, the tv channels, coffee, and food can be alternative entertainments. In addition, I have got vid call from faculty staff every day to make sure that I am in the room 24/7. Delighted to have that call.

Day 11 of SHN is a swab test, that’s my second time of a lifetime. It conducted at the basement of the hotel for all newcomers. I felt not so that hurt like the first time 2 weeks before but I was okay at that time. What makes me more worried is the outcome in the next 2 days. I was fortunate, the message from the telegram app stated that I am tested negative and I am able to leave quarantine on Day 14, smelling the fresh air of life out there finally.

Thank you for reading this story I shared.

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A long life student