A crisis concerning public health came immediately after I finished my Public Health course for this last semester. Yes, I am talking about the well-known COVID-19. After returning back to Hong Kong, I found that the situation is much more serious in Hong Kong than in Taiwan. I think that the government should bear the most responsibility for this. First, there is no policy made by the HK government regarding the supply of protective face masks, while the Taiwan government has already mandatory collected all the masks in the market, redistributes them to the public, as well as refrains exportation of masks to foreign countries. Hence Taiwanese people could still be able to buy masks for virus prevention. Also, the Taiwan Government has restricted the entrance of Chinese people in January, and the restriction has been extended to include Hong Kong and Macau residents in February. On the contrary, the Hong Kong government refuses to make entrance restrictions to Chinese citizens, and in fact, many patients infected with COVID-19 had recent travelling experiences in Mainland China. I believe that if all of them were blocked or quarantined from the start, the seriousness of the virus would be lower. Lastly, I hope that this pandemic situation will be soon solved so that our lives can return back to normal.
Although school officially starts in March, one of my courses, small animal nutrition started early in February. The first 2 weeks of this course were still relatively easy because it was just introducing essential nutrients for small animals such as amino acids, omega 3 and 6, and also things that can cause cellular damage such as free radicals. The professor had been emailing class materials such as aseptic techniques videos and an introduction of different surgical tools for us to look at, even though the surgical class starts in March.
On the other hand, it was reported that a dog was tested positive for the novel coronavirus and sparked panic in the public. But the novel coronavirus is of beta coronavirus genus, while those that will infect dogs are of the alpha genus, so it is not likely for a dog to be infected by the novel coronavirus. It is believed that the dog may have contracted the virus from licking its owner’s hands or face or made contact with contaminated surfaces. Hence tested positive for the virus. Which could mean the virus has not entered into the bloodstream and replicate to cause any kind of infection. So in the meantime, there is no need to worry about your pets being infected with the virus.
During February, I was still looking for anti-epidemic supplies, and worrying about the need to change my flight ticket because Taiwan has increased their level of entry restrictions. All these kinds of uncertainty stressed me.
In the end, things did not go as planned. Taiwan announced that Hong Kong and Macao students would be restricted from entering Taiwan starting from the 10th March and so I had to change my flight and went back to Taiwan immediately. Because of the rush, there are many things I missed out on and didn’t prepare for as I was very confused. It was already 11 o’clock when the plane landed in Taiwan, I passed the immigration at midnight after various epidemic prevention measures. The university arranged some staff to pick us up from the airport to the home quarantine place. I arrived there at 4:30 a.m. and got into my room at 6 a.m. I guess it’s not only an exhausting day for me but also for the staff working at the quarantine place.
We have arranged a room per person and was restricted to leave the room, and every now and then had our body temperature taken and recorded. The staff provided us three meals a day and would leave them on a small table outside our room for us to pick up. I did not get used to it in the first few days. I felt live like a year when I spent the whole day on the computer and especially had dinner finished by around 6:30 After four to five days, slowly, I got used to this rhythm of life. I spent more time on readings and exercise. A way to fix up my health physically and mentally. On the tenth day, my friends started to count down the number of days of quarantine left for me, but to be honest, I enjoyed those moments of quietness and comfort which left me in a peaceful mood.
I thank the university for the past 14 days of caring. I did not feel unsafe and uncomfortable during the time of quarantine despite I did feel confused and carry on the first day back to Taiwan. During the process the most unhappy part was uncertainty. I couldn’t purchase any items as planned from Hong Kong back to Taiwan, Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll be back in Hong Kong until I graduate. With no snacks, bubble tea or noodles around made me feel insecure. I hope the outbreak can end as soon as possible, so my friends can visit Taiwan and help me bring some homemade snacks over.