Anshu Tejuja, MD, Ashoka Dream Holidays, was on a trip in the Maldives when something unexpected happened and she had to be quarantined for five weeks on the island. This is her story in her own words.
I was quarantined on an island like Robinson Crusoe from March 20 to April 25, 2021, but lived it up like a COVID warrior. This is a narrative about my five weeks of quarantine experience in the Maldives recently. I know Maldives is a beautiful country to be quarantined in. But every day was tough.
My one-week familiarisation trip to the Maldives with eight other travel agents from Mumbai turned into a five-week experience! We were supposed to return to Mumbai on March 27. We were all packed and ready to fly back when we were informed by the hotel that one agent tested positive. As per the rules in Maldives, the rest of us too had to be quarantined for 14 nights, which is 15 days. So we all went into isolation on March 27 and we all had to undergo COVID tests. After three days, two more members of the group tested positive. On the seventh day, two more people tested positive. And then on day 15 – which was my last day of being quarantined – my results also came back positive. In short, eight out of nine got infected while onthe trip.
Initially, before I tested positive, there was a lot of frustration and anger. Imagine one month of complete isolation in a room with no housekeeping! Initially, we thought the rules were too strict. But it started to make sense to me why it is pertinent to have them. The 15-day isolation / incubation period now makes complete sense to me because anyone can catch it within 14 days. HPA (Health Protection Agency) in Maldives has laid down these rules for everybody’s safety and I am thankful for that. If we were allowed to leave without the mandatory isolation, I would have infected my family and so many other people on the way back. We would have caused so much damage.
I am thankful to the entire team at Intercontinental Maldives that kept me comfortable in a duplex lagoon villa facing the ocean with dolphins saying hello to me for a month. They customised everything to our needs and did a spectacular job – they provided us with everything we asked for. The doctor came to visit us every day to make sure your vitals were good. Besides family, I did not lack anything while there. The hotel was kind enough to not charge us for all these days and we paid only for our PCR tests. Fellow travel agent Manjula Godia, my room partner and an angel who was my support through all those tough days; we got through it together. All members of the familiarisation group –Sapneal Rao, Ajay Chhabria, Sumit Dhirwani, Anoop Kumar, Nishank Syal, Komal Jani and Delna Madon – have now become like a close-knit family.
A word of advice
My virtual exercise classes came to my rescue. I strongly recommend travel insurance for any travel during COVID times because if you test positive or anyone around you tests positive, you will need to be isolated. A good insurance cover and a medicine kit is very important to carry while travelling. No hotel or hospital will incur your expenses, hence a COVID insurance policy is an absolute must. I follow a healthy diet and do yoga regularly which I think helped me a lot too. My advice to everyone – follow the rules, be calm and be patient.