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Student: we must all fight virus threat

A Bermudian student in self-quarantine appealed for others to do what they could to curb the potential spread of Covid-19.

Isabella Zuill-McKenzie, a student at London Metropolitan University, went into self-quarantine on Sunday after she returned to the island from Britain.

She said yesterday: “I haven't had any symptoms, but I wanted to get back home as my university closes this week and the thought of being stuck in the UK didn't appeal to me.

“I'm closely monitoring myself and taking my temperature several times a day.

“I'm in self-quarantine as I was advised to do so by the customs officers at the airport when I came back, I also want to make sure that my family is not compromised should I start showing symptoms.”

Ms Zuill-McKenzie said she was told to fill out a form that included her travel history and the name of her GP when she arrived.

She added: “We were told that if anyone refused to fill out the form, they would go back on the returning flight.

“We were also told that we would be contacted by someone about our symptoms at some point. I haven't been contacted yet.”

Ms Zuill-McKenzie said she had followed the instructions and confined herself to her bedroom to avoid contact with the rest of her family.

She added: “So far, the experience hasn't been too bad. Saying that, I'm really only on my second day. My family has been extremely helpful by leaving my meals outside my door and keeping their distance.

I'm fortunate enough to have access to my own bathroom, so can keep to myself.”

Ms Zuill-McKenzie's university is moving its courses online so she will still have assignments to work on while she is in quarantine.

She said: “They are working under the idea that we will hopefully still be taking our end-of-year exams in May, so I am studying for those as well.

“In terms of entertainment, I have a few books and Netflix is always a good idea when I need to take a break.”

Ms Zuill-McKenzie said she did not think the coronavirus was a threat when she first heard about it, but realised how dangerous it was as it spread across Britain.

She said: “I'm in relatively good health, but if I were to pass it on to someone else, I would feel awful.

“It's scary because it can lie dormant in someone, so for all I know I could have it. This is why I'm taking the quarantine so seriously.

“Thankfully, my friends and family have been supportive. It is difficult to be home and not see them, but I know that me being in quarantine is in their best interests.

She added: “This is only temporary, and I know that I will see them soon. To me, their health is more important than me seeing them.”

Ms Zuill-McKenzie said everyone should stick to the required self-quarantine for the sake of the island.

She asked: “Wouldn't you rather be overcautious, and nothing happen, than continue as normal and our country be run over by the virus?

Ms Zuill-McKenzie told the public: “We simply do not have the facilities to accommodate this.

It is about more than just you — it's your family, friends, co-workers, everyone on this island and Bermuda's infrastructure as a whole.

“We need to take heed of Italy's situation. They have already had over 1,000 deaths because they didn't take it seriously at first either.”

The Government has since yesterday mandated a monitored 14-day self-quarantine period.

A government notice said: “All persons arriving into Bermuda will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days and should expect to do so subject to public health monitoring.

“This means these arriving passengers will be required to remain at home so they do not facilitate the transmission of the virus, including at their place of work.

“Public health monitoring will include health personnel being in communication with these persons over the period of the self-quarantine and being the first point of contact in the event the person develops fever, cough or difficulty breathing.”

Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, warned work-permit holders that if they breached a quarantine, they would lose their work permit.

People who were self-quarantined were told to remain at least one metre away from others.

Another government notice told members of the public: “Depending on the nature of your work, you may work from home.

“You can be in contact with your office and colleagues by phone calls, e-mail, video conferencing and other online channels.

“You can go outside your house and sit outside, if there are no other people in the immediate area.

“You can go for a walk, but must keep at least one metre — three feet — from others.”

The notice added that if a quarantined person needed groceries or supplies, they should contact a friend or family member. But it warned: “They must leave the items in a secure location at your home — outside the door.

“The person must not enter your house. You must not touch that person and you must stay one metre or three feet from that person.”

Self-quarantine: Isabella Zuill-McKenzie is living in one room (Photograph provided)

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Published March 18, 2020 at 9:00 am (Updated March 18, 2020 at 5:37 pm)

Student: we must all fight virus threat

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