When I Got Positive RT-PCR at Haneda Airport
After a fulfilling business and personal trip to India, I was flying back from Delhi to Tokyo towards the end of the Golden week holidays. As required by the Japanese government, I took my RT PCR test in Delhi and uploaded the negative result along with the vaccine certificate and other declaration forms. I was all set for the coming week — taken 3 vaccine shots, I was exempted from any quarantine period. As I came to the Delhi Airport early, I sat at the Starbucks inside the airport and started writing about my experiences during this trip.
I heard an announcement about the flight to Tokyo and realizing it was my flight, I hurried to the gate. The boarding was smooth but as soon as I sat on my seat, I got a running nose, which I just ignored and started watching the news. As the dinner came and the lights were switched off, I tried to sleep but a peculiar headache accompanied by a running nose made me uncomfortable. I went to the toilet and cleared out my nose. I slept for some time but woke up shortly and started listening to my downloaded podcast. As we were about to land in Tokyo, my head started paining again and this time it was concentrated on a single point and was really unbearable. At this point, my nose was running uncontrollably and I realized there is something wrong. Shortly, we landed in Tokyo and proceeded for the covid checks. The first step was to check the pre-arrival documentation (negative RT-PCR certificate in India, vaccination certificate, declaration, etc) and it was all good. The next step was the RT PCR test at the airport, where it was required to submit your saliva in a tube and wait for the results with your token number. As I was waiting for my results, I was feeling really uncomfortable — my body temperature had gone up and I was feeling really tired. With this, I got really nervous as a lot of questions were popping up — what if I get covid positive? will I be deported back? how will I attend the office tomorrow? etc. As all the token numbers around my number appeared on the TV screen, I felt almost certain that my RT PCR test result was positive. Just then I heard an announcement asking me to come to a different side. I was informed by one of the airport staff that I was Covid positive and need to follow the quarantine protocols from now on.
There were mixed feelings — I felt devastated, helpless, and really guilty for those who were in contact with me. The medical staff came to check my symptoms and measure my temperature, blood pressure, and oxygen levels. My temperature was quite high at 39.4 C and was advised to drink a lot of water as they prepare for the bus and room in the quarantine hotel. Though it took them time to prepare the logistics, they kept coming from time to time to check on me. Finally, I was taken to the quarantine hotel in Ginza through a private van. All my luggage was already boarded by the staff. Very soon I reached the quarantine hotel, which was going to be my home for the next 1 week.
At the hotel entrance, I was greeted by the nurse. They re-examined me and asked me to submit all medicines, scissors, knives, etc. I was carrying medicines as I always do when I come from India. Next, they informed the rules of the quarantine facility, as follows:
- No going out of the room
- Need to record temperature and oxygen readings at 8 AM and 3 PM every day
- Meals will be kept outside the room three times a day- wear a mask while collecting the meals
- and so on…
I went to the room and tired as hell, just went to sleep. Just then, there was an announcement of lunch being kept at the door, which I ignored. Shortly after, there was an announcement of registering the daily temperature and oxygen level in the portal, which I again ignored as I was way too tired to move. In an hour or so, I got a call from the staff reminding me to add the temperature and oxygen readings. I realized this was very closely monitored and gave me some assurance.
The cycle continued — announcements for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and registering of temperature and oxygen level. It seemed like Big Boss house where I was monitored all the time. For the initial 2–3 days my temperature was high and I had to ask for an antipyretic for reducing the fever. Very different from India, the staff asked about my symptoms thoroughly and gave me a list of instructions to take the medicine. After 2–3 days, I was all fine and had been enjoying the daily meals in the quarantine hotel. By the way, all the meals are vegan and my favorite is the breakfast!
When I am writing the blog, it’s been 6 days in the quarantine hotel already. I am hoping to move out tomorrow if everything goes well. I would like to thank Japan’s quarantine and medical staff for the great service and fast recovery. This experience has taught me 1 lesson — one needs to accept and enjoy what is beyond their control.
Looking forward to being with the world soon!