Travelling – and quarantining– in the times of Covid
By Edita Rimkevičienė
Head of project management
Edita had to travel in the midst of lockdowns. Her Covid Story stretched from a challenging 14-day quarantine at the small hotel room to long-waited freedom.
It was the beginning of the summer of 2020. Covid was spreading worldwide but Helisota had contractual obligations for a client in Sri Lanka and was supposed to take over 2 Mi -171 helicopters for overhaul from the Customer base. At that time, all movement thru the countries worldwide was absolutely stopped and there was no possibility to buy usual tickets to travel to Sri Lanka.
But these challenges haven’t stopped Helisota team and we found a way to travel to Sri Lanka with special Invitations and with a special flight from London to Sri Lanka.
This really was a special flight where Sri Lanka Government ordered a charter flight dedicated only for Sri Lanka citizens to return to the country from Canada. With lots of effort, Helisota team consisting of 7 persons also found ways to get to that flight. It was still a challenge to get to London somehow.
The trip from Vilnius to London took one stop in Frankfurt, where we had to overnight. All shops were closed because of Covid, and it was not possible to buy even coffee.
In the late evening of June 4th, we were boarding to travel to Sri Lanka. The plane was almost empty, there were only 11 passengers including us.
Finally, after 2 days of traveling, we landed in Sri Lanka. We have never imagined that this landing will be like a scene from the movie. We were surrounded by medical and airport personnel armed with personal protective equipment from head-to-toe, they disinfected everyone’s hands, luggage, shoes, and other designated items.
From getting off the plane until we boarded a specially booked bus that took us to the hotel where we had to be quarantined for 14 days we calculated that we were disinfected and the temperature was measured 8 times and one CPR testing was performed.
We realized that in Sri Lanka country is doing all precautionary measures to prevent the spread of Covid.
The consent at the hotel was even more specific. There the security requirements were strictly observed, and check-in processes would take place almost without any contact. Here’s how we were greeted at the quarantine hotel. And again the same procedures, disinfection and temperature measurements in all of the floors.
Therefore, the hotel was our home for 14 days of quarantine. It was not possible to leave your room, not even to go for a quick walk in the hall.
We had 3 times a day meals and 2 times a day temperature measurement. After 4 days of staying in one small room and waiting for somebody to bring you food was like an adventure.
While other colleagues could choose to live two persons in one room, I lived alone. After 4 days of that kind of quarantine, when you start to work with your computer from early morning and end in the late evening, the day began to mix with the night. This was the only relaxing view for our thoughts.
It was too much time for me to be only with my thoughts. Only 9 months was passed after my husband passed away and those 14 days in one small room was one of the toughest moments in my life when you have nowhere to distract your thoughts.
After 5 days the food became the same taste, it was difficult to concentrate. After 10 days of quarantine, my mind started to see the light, that only 4 days were left until our freedom.
After around 12 days of quarantine, we were supposed to do Covid tests. We all were so excited about that because we will have the possibility to meet each other, to talk eye to eye, to see other people outside. Sounds funny, but we have waited impatiently for those tests to do. The tests were performed just down the street where hands with rubber gloves got out of the bus.
After 14 days we were free and we have even received Certificates from Sri Lanka government stating that we have gone thru 14 days of mandatory quarantine in Sri Lanka country.
Right after the quarantine, we were brought to our client's base, where we had to disassemble 2 Mi-171 helicopters, pack them, and ship to Helisota for overhaul.
Even our client base was very simple, without any bigger amenities but it all had no matter to us because we were so happy being free after quarantine and finally we could start the job that we love.
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