While the spread of COVID-19 was getting worse in the Netherlands, I flew back to Taiwan where the outbreak seems largely under control. As a result, I was in mandatory quarantine for the next 14 days.
Life In Holland
Three weeks ago, the Dutch government announced additional measures should be undertaken to prevent the spread of the disease. Gatherings with more than 100 people were no longer allowed.
A few days later though, the outbreak got worse, and the government started taking further measures to close down all schools, restaurants, movie theaters, and bars.
My own university, Leiden University, decided that the physical classes will be canceled, and offered online tuition until the end of this academic year.
Before the Dutch government approved the prevention measures to close down all schools, international students were getting anxious about the increasing infection rates of coronavirus in the Netherlands.
Everyone I knew was uncertain as to whether they should go home to be with their families in Germany, Mexico, South Korea, and Singapore, or perhaps they should stay in Holland, and wait for the classes to start again.
The fears surrounding the coronavirus began to create an anxious environment among the students.
My parents called me from Taiwan every day, expressing their concern about the coronavirus pandemic spreading across Europe when I was still not sure whether or not my university would resume classes.
After the Dutch government ordered the closures of schools, my parents and I together decided that it would be the best option for me to go back to Taiwan, where I have more a familiar and complete access to health care systems in a place that has kept its coronavirus infection rate relatively low compared to Europe.
Back In Taiwan
The Taiwanese government announced that all travelers or nationals returning to Taiwan from abroad must comply with quarantine policies.
These people are required to follow a 14-day home quarantine period, or to stay at the group quarantine facilities supported by the government, according to The Central Epidemic Command Center.
During my own 14-day home quarantine, I was in a room with all necessities, and my sister was the only person in charge of sending food to me because we decided to have my parents, who are now over 60, remain distant from me as much as possible.
Staying at home alone for a long time may pose adverse effects on the physical and mental health of individuals. It is important that family and friends give enough support to an individual in quarantine.
My family and friends supported me throughout with phone calls and by sending me some funny quarantine memes on social media.
The local village chief gave me a call every morning to keep track of my health situation. I also read, did exercise, meditated and watched TV shows to relieve my stress and anxiety caused by the isolation.
During the past two weeks, despite it being very hard to deal with the effects of isolation and having to stay home, I became more aware of my position, and the supportive system to fight COVID-19 in Taiwan at the governmental and community level.
I feel that it is a safer place to stay than any other place right now as this pandemic continues to reshape the order of our global society.