File photo of Air India plane (Picture courtesy Air India) Photograph:( Others )
Yuvraj, whose quarantine time is over already, is still in ITBP Facility because of the lockdown.
Yuvraj along with 218 other evacuees was recently evacuated from Italy in a special Air India flight that landed in the national capital on the 15th of March. All 218 evacuees, mostly Indian students were then taken to the ITBP Chhawla Quarantine Facility in Delhi. More than 15 thousand people have already lost their lives in Italy, making it the worst-hit region in the world. Italy now accounts for more than 5 times the casualties caused by COVID-19 in Hubei, China- the epicenter of the virus.
Yuvraj, whose quarantine time is over already, is still in ITBP Facility because of the lockdown. “ITBP continues to host us even though the quarantine period got over on the 28th of March as the country remains under lockdown,” he says. “We have been treated nicely from day 1 and they continue to do so till we’re here,” he added.
Yuvraj moved to Italy in the year 2016, in search of a better life and career. He completed his Master’s Graduation in Building Architecture from Politecnico di Milano, Milan. “I was about to join a company in Italy. When the pandemic got big the company has to close and the company took back the offer. Now I am in the situation that nothing could be done for the next few months and I have lost few months from my timeline,” he said. Oblivious of the pandemic, Yuvraj was about to join a new job in the first week of March. “Everything changed so quickly that I couldn’t even realize what happened.”
In an exclusive conversation with Praphul Singh from WION, Yuvraj shares his experience of his life in Quarantine:
WION: What is your first memory of CORONAVIRUS? How did it all start and how quickly did it went from bad to worse?
YUVRAJ: The situation was normal till the mid of February. But when the positive cases started increasing then only we and the people over there come to know that it would get worse. So everyone started making stock of the food products, masks, and sanitizers. Within a week the spike of positive cases increased a lot.
WION: When did you finally decided that you want to come back to India?
YUVRAJ: At the beginning of March most of us had slight fever and cold. We knew that it’s because of the sudden change in the weather in Milan. But, we all were scared. I had bad dreams of being tested positive of coronavirus on foreign land, away from my family. I was too scared of being infected. It was then, I decided to return to India.
WION: How were you contacted by the Indian Embassy and evacuated?
YUVRAJ: Actually, I had a return flight to India on the 10th of March itself. Sadly, the officials along with 120 other passengers didn’t allow us to board the flight until we produced a certificate stating that we were tested negative of COVID-19. We had no option but to return to our homes and wait.
Three days later i.e. on 13th March, we were contacted by the officials from the Indian consulate in Milan and they told that they are sending a flight the next day i.e. on 14th March. We were brought on a special flight by Air India on the 15th of March.
Once we were in India, we were taken to the ITBP Chhwala camp and allotted the place. The medical made a swab test and announced the result two days later, in which all of us were tested negative.
WION: Tell us something about your routine while you were quarantined?
YUVRAJ: We were served morning tea at 07:00 am which followed with breakfast from 08:00 – 9:00 am. Daily check-ups happened every day after breakfast which usually took two to three hours every day. Lunch was served every day for one hour from 12:00 noon to 1:00 PM. After lunch, we would either do a little chit-chat with other evacuees or read or sleep. Then we had high-tea served at 4:00 PM which followed by dinner at night, at around 8:00 PM. We usually went to sleep after that. Most of the time we either watched videos or read books.
Officials at the facility were supportive and adhered to our needs. Wi-fi was arranged on each floor so that students could attend the online classes, while the others could browse the internet to kill time.
WION: How are the facilities in the quarantine Center?
Yuvraj: We were provided with internet facility and were allowed to walk within the floor and meet friends within the floor. We were given masks to wear and asked to maintain social distance even within the facility. Doctors and medical assistance would check on us regularly to make sure if we were okay, and maintaining social distance or not. We were constantly monitored by specialized medical staff to check on any symptoms of coronavirus. Two Psychiatrists were also assigned to our batch to provide consultations to those who felt stressed or depressed.
WION: Are you happy being back in India?
Yuvraj: I am happy but not 100% happy. I wanted to come back when I have a job. But now I have been forced to come back because of Coronavirus.
WION: How were things in Italy before you left? Are you in touch with someone in Milan?
Yuvraj: It is getting worse in Italy day by day, but there is no problem with food. People are allowed to go and buy groceries from supermarkets, medicine from the pharmacy. Comparing march month now people in Italy are more disciplined and following the laws seriously. When I was in Italy at the beginning of march I questioned a few old people nearby my house, “Why are people out during this situation since the virus affects the old easily?”, I asked. They said, "we have survived the two world wars and are confident that we can survive the virus too."
WION: How has your life changed because of Coronavirus?
Yuvraj: I don’t see any change in my life apart from uncertainty in my future. I am a job seeker and I don’t know how I am going to survive after the pandemic ends. Right now, I am improving my skills for my career. I hope everything ends soon and everything gets back on track.