It only took a short conversation at a close distance, with their masks pulled down to their nose and chin for Neel Naraayan and his wife, Alya Raj (not their real names) to get infected with Covid-19.
“After a small event (before the latest movement control order) where everyone followed the required SOPs of masking and social distancing, we had a chat with someone at a close distance. Our masks were on but they were pulled down to under the nose and chin when talking,” recalls Neel.
The couple discovered that the person they had spoken to, tested positive three days after the event. They immediately went for an RTK Antigen Covid-19 test (which generates results in 30 minutes) and were found to be negative, but their relief was short-lived.
“The next day, my wife felt feverish and went for a PCR swab test (which is more accurate but the results are only available 24 hours later) and she was positive,” says Neel.
The couple have a daughter and Neel’s mother also lives with them, so they all had to do the PCR test too.
Under the Ministry of Health’s new guidelines, patients who have mild or no symptoms (Level One and Two) can undergo treatment and be quarantined at home to ease the overburdened healthcare facilities. The couple were both Level Two with mild symptoms.
While Neel also tested positive, his mother and daughter, were negative. The family acted promptly, deciding to be immediately quarantined - separately.
As they’ve another house that’s furnished but empty, Neel immediately sent his mother and daughter there with their things.
For the first four days, Neel and Alya felt slightly feverish and unwell, and took panadol to suppress the fever. After that, when the symptoms subsided, they only took it as and when required.
“We’re fortunate our symptoms were mild, but another person who attended the same event was hospitalised in the ICU,” says Neel.
During their quarantine, the couple boosted their health with vitamin supplements and traditional Ayurvedic remedies. They also drank a lot of fluids like juices and herbal drinks, without sugar or preservatives.
“But these aren’t a medicine to fight Covid-19, they’re for building up the immune system,” Neel emphasises.
The couple reveal that staying active has enabled them to get through this quarantine period.
“Workwise, both of us work from home even before the MCO, so there’s not much difference. But socially, it’s very difficult. I’m usually the type that likes to go out all the time,” says Neel.
He adds that what helped him and his wife in their recovery from Covid-19 was that they were able to move about freely within their own home.
“I walk every day within the house compound, upstairs and downstairs, do stretches, tend to the plants, tidy and rearrange the store(room). My wife does housework daily. All that movement is good – it’s exercise."
The couple also passed the time doing things around the house that they'd never had time to do – spring clean, tidy the storeroom, rearrange the furniture, even organise their documents that had been put aside for years.