When Tinu Cherian Abraham, a resident of Bengaluru left for New York on February 28, little did he know what coronavirus — then an outbreak mostly limited to China — had in store for him. However, as soon as he landed back in town, the communications and PR personnel at a multinational IT company took the civic responsibility to put himself on home quarantine.
“Even though there was no government advisory then to do so, I did this voluntarily for the safety of my loved ones, friends, colleagues and the community around me. There was a company advisory as well, suggesting employees who have come back from international travel to consider self-quarantine for 14 days,” Abraham told Indianexpress.com
On his way back to Bengaluru, after cutting short his official trip due to the escalating situation in New York, Abraham spent time in three airports – Los Angeles, USA (boarding point), Frankfurt, Germany (23-hour-transit) and Bengaluru (landing point).
“While I didn’t see much precautionary actions taken at LAX (Los Angeles, CA) or FRA (Frankfurt) airports, I was greeted by medical officers screening arriving passengers in BLR (Bengaluru) airport. It was a bit surprising for me as there wasn’t much done in Frankfurt even though Germany is one of the most impacted nations due to coronavirus outbreak. They might have been screening passengers only at exit points then,” Abraham added.
However, in Bengaluru, Abraham says he felt concerned as arriving passengers were asked to stand in long queues close to each other with the risk of exposure even if one individual was affected was high. “The medical officers were only checking body temperature and inquiring us about countries visited in near past,” he said.
Interestingly, Abraham had moved his children to his brother’s residence even before he landed back in Bengaluru. “I had read somewhere that staying away from children, elderly people, pregnant women, and others suffering from any disease is important as they are reportedly more vulnerable to the viral infection. Even though I was asymptomatic I thought of keeping my children away from me as their well-being is of paramount importance to me,” Abraham added. However, his wife decided to stay with him in the same house.
“You may not be sick yet or have no chance of getting infected at all but it is important to have both physical and emotional support from someone you love. Yes, you are putting that person at risk, but if you can manage otherwise, it is still better,” he advises.
Breaking myths about self-quarantine measures, Abraham says it is never the same “as being jailed”. He explains: “You can still communicate and be in touch with family and friends. There is no reason to fear but is taking a measure for all your acquaintances and thereby for the society around you.”
“If only those who have returned from coronavirus-affected countries become more sensible to be in self-quarantine, others would not have to live in fear halting their daily living and operations. This should be seriously followed for the greater welfare and safety of our co-citizens,” says Abraham.
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