63 students complete isolation, learn to be patient

James Kon

Sixty-three local students, who opted to return to the country from Egypt amid the COVID-19 pandemic, completed their 14-day isolation at Grand City Hotel yesterday.

Among them was Muhammad Mu’iz Zulfadhli bin Zulkefli, who said, “Our welfare was well taken care of throughout the 14 days by the Government of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam as well as the volunteers. They monitored our health day and night. We had WiFi. Food was never an issue; it was always sufficient.”

On the struggle of being isolated, he said, “We couldn’t have physical contact with our family and friends, which was understandable. This was done to prevent us from spreading the virus if we had it. In isolation, I developed a daily routine of Solat, reading, reciting Al-Quran and making video calls to friends and family.”

Asked about his flight home, Muhammad Mu’iz Zulfadhli said it was “excellent” and thanked Royal Brunei Airlines (RB) for bringing stranded students back to the country and thanked “the Ministry of Health (MoH), as well as the Ministry of Religious Affairs (MoRA), other ministries involved, frontliners and volunteers” for coordinating the measures in the midst of the outbreak.

Meanwhile, 19-year-old Anis Hazira binti Md Azmi saw the isolation as an opportunity to “read Al-Quran and revise my schoolwork”.

Sixty-three local students, who returned home from Egypt amid the COVID-19 pandemic, completed their 14-day isolation at Grand City Hotel yesterday. Photo shows a volunteer handing over a bottle of sanitiser to a student.
ABOVE & BELOW: A student checks out of Grand City Hotel, which has been used as an isolation centre; and officials attend to a parent for the check out process at Grand City Hotel. PHOTOS: BAHYIAH BAKIR

Muhammad Mu’iz Zulfadhli bin Zulkefli developed a daily routine to keep him occupied during the 14-day isolation
Anis Hazira binti Md Azmi has learnt the importance of patience
Nurul Hamizah binti Sabli could only view her family from her window while they made a daily food run to the hotel

She admitted to being “scared” at the prospect of being cooped up in a room for two weeks. However, she said, “I have learnt to be more patient.”

On the government’s efforts in bringing back local students from overseas, she said, “The process was smooth; we were given utmost attention. We were given the option of being with our family in these trying times. I feel blessed and appreciative of what the government and volunteers have done for us.”

The sentiment was shared by fellow student Nurul Hamizah binti Sabli, who extended her appreciation to the hotel staff and Bruneian students in Egypt for ensuring that the isolation mandate went without a hitch.

She also saw the two-week seclusion as a learning experience as “we were isolated. So we try to get through every day by reading Al-Quran, singing and watching TV”.

However, she confessed to missing her family, whom she could only view from her window while they made a daily food run to the hotel. But, she added, “I understand the importance of the measure. If someone in our group was infected, they were at least in isolation instead of spreading it to others.”