COVID-19 | NATION

COVID-19: Conrad Thanks PM For Safe Return

The law student was stranded in Singapore for three days.
04 Apr 2020 11:34
COVID-19: Conrad Thanks PM For Safe Return
Fijian law student at the University of Buckingham Sarah Conrad.

A Fijian law student at the University of Buckingham in London, is thankful to the Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama, in assisting her safe return home.

Sarah Conrad was stuck for three days while transiting through Singapore. This follows the addition of the United Kingdom to the list of restricted countries with COVID-19.

“My parents appealed to the Prime Minister, who took swift action, and in a matter of one hour, he arranged my travel to Fiji,” said Ms Conrad.

“I have never seen any Prime Minister move so fast so a big vinaka to Mr Bainimarama and his team and keep up the great work.

“There is a lot of misinformation circulating, however once any sound individual does a simple comparative analysis with other countries, they will come to the same conclusion; our Government’s response to COVID-19 has been exceptional. We are indeed blessed and very lucky to be in Fiji.

“If you follow the news, you would be aware of how over 300 British citizens were stranded in New Zealand alone, due to flight cancellations and there was no response or guidance from the UK Home Office.

“After the people took to Twitter to voice their concerns, the Home Office finally arranged flights.

“By contrast, our Prime Minister asked my mum, verbatim, ‘What do you need?’ He did not think about costs or issue us an invoice. His main concern was that a Fijian stranded was brought back safely and reunited with the family.

“This is a man who leads by example. I know he is a family man and one who genuinely cares for his people. If it wasn’t for the Prime Minister’s kind heart, I would be in one of the worst imaginable situations. I am just so very grateful!”

Ms Conrad was born and raised in Nadroga. She has been studying and working in London for the last two years.

During the early stages of the COVID-19 outbreak, her parents expressed concern about her continuing to stay in London and requested her to return home until the crisis was over.

In preparation, Ms Conrad self-isolated herself in London for three weeks prior to travelling to Fiji.

The flight

During the flight on board Fiji Airways, the staff and crew were given very clear instructions on how to handle Ms Conrad.

“Because my origin of travel was London and the UK having been recently added to the restricted list, they took extra precautions.

“I was seated at the back area of the aircraft and the entire back area was sealed off to the public. I had a designated toilet as well. This was to prevent any cross contamination, in the event that I may have been infected. I was also handed double gloves and face masks. The crew were also in protective gear,” she added.

At arrival

Upon arrival at the Nadi International Airport, she was escorted to a medical room where her temperature was checked, blood pressure, breathing and lungs with a stethoscope.

“Seeing that my vitals were normal and no visible signs of any symptoms, I was told to isolate for 14 days. I checked into a Nadi hotel,” she said.

Isolation period

At the hotel, Ms Conrad maintained the two metre distance at all times. Fresh towels and bedding were left at the door for her to collect.

“I did not accept any visitors, nor did I step outside the room. This is because I understand that I also have a personal responsibility and civic duty of ensuring that I am doing everything I can at my end to prevent the spread of this virus,” she said.

“I also take multivitamins to strengthen my immune system and eat healthy. As a result, I have not had any symptoms at all.

“The immigration and Government Health officials would periodically check up on me, taking my vitals and keeping abreast of any new developments, should they present themselves.”

Her opinion

Yesterday marked her 10th day in self isolation and Ms Conrad is looking forward to a little more freedom after day 14.

“Although, I do not think that it would make much of a difference, because I intend to continue to exercise diligence even when not in isolation, just to be extra safe.

“I am very impressed with the way our Government has responded to this outbreak. Again, you need only compare the UK (a first world country and leader) to get an idea of how very fortunate we are”.

Going forward

In response to COVID-19, most UK Universities have now gone online.

“I am due to start classes next week and look forward to being able to do so from the comfort of my home, surrounded by the people I love,” she said.

Edited by Ivamere Nataro

Feedback: waisean@fijisun.com.fj

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