By Ahmed Wafi

#teamGRADUAN checked in with a COVID survivor to see what it means to contract the virus.

These days, getting a COVID swab test is normal. And unfortunately, so is a positive result. Like for Faiz E, who remember feeling gutted and distraught when he tested positive. “I tried to remain calm but eventually broke down as it was just too tough to handle,” says Faiz.

He also felt guilt as he felt he had put those around him in danger, especially since he had recently been in contact with close family members including his 1-year-old nephew and 86-year-old grandmother.

Fortunately, the swab test results for his family returned negative.

Faiz works at a local restaurant and came home one day feeling lethargic. Apart from a mild headache, there were no symptoms of the virus. After getting news that one of his colleagues tested positive, he wasted no time in getting a swab test.

“KKM called me the morning after I got my results, asking about my movements in the past 14 days and other protocol questions. The ambulance came about 11:30PM and I was transferred to the Sg Buloh Quarantine Centre that night,” he 29-year-old explains. It was an emotional event as his family could only wave from a distance.

Faiz spent eight days in the quarantine centre on top of the two days he spent in home quarantine. He was placed in a room with a roommate but was later transferred to the larger quarantine facility in MAEPS, Serdang, where beds are spread throughout the facility with a common washroom for all.

His experience was far from the gloomy images the public associates with a COVID quarantine centre. “The living conditions were surprisingly comfortable and not as bad as I imagined it would be. Apart from the air conditioning, KKM also provided clothing, food and medication to patients if needed. There was not much to do so I spent most of my time reflecting, reading or watching Netflix,” says Faiz.

Something he learnt about COVID was that according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention the virus is no longer infectious after 10 days of symptom onset when it comes to patients with mild or no symptoms. Because of this, a second test was not necessary before his discharge. However, those who did recover can still catch the virus albeit the chances are slim.

His biggest takeaway from the whole experience? “Being away from my family for 10 days with nothing much to do except wait for time to pass and hope I get better has taught me to cherish moments with my loved ones and be grateful I’m around them,” says Faiz.

He also urges the public not to be so harsh on COVID patients and blame them for contracting the virus, especially if preventive measures have already been taken.

So let’s continue working together by doing the right thing and following the precautions to protect ourselves and our loved ones. #KitaJagaKita

Photo by Lim Huey Teng on Reuters

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