Adwoa Antwi-Kusi UK
In my few years on the earth, I have “lived through” (indirectly) a number of pandemics and epidemics. I watch on the 6 o’clock news as some microbiological being rapidly destroys and causes havoc to a distant people in a distant country. That’s terrible, I would think to myself and maybe utter a word or two of prayer for them and that would be it. Such destructive, catastrophic event always happened to other people and it was inconceivable that one day it would come knocking at my door.
In February of 2020, when the world’s attention was drawn to the outbreak in Wuhan, China. I still felt indestructible. China is so far, poor them I thought. Then we found out exactly what we were dealing with, a fast spreading respiratory disease caused by a variant of the flu virus. By then it had already spread to the four corners of the world. People were being hospitalised in droves and thousands were dying so quickly. Countries begun to lock down. Non-essential shops were closed. People were advised to wash hands, wear masks and stay home. Non-essential international travel was prohibited with hard hit countries being put on banned lists. I’ll admit, I begun to panic. Not enough to panic-bye toilet paper, but it scared me that it had actually made it’s way to places where I have family and friends living.
I checked on folks, prayed for them like I know how. My husband begun working from home but I didn’t make major changes t my life. Our son continued nursery and I did my groceries and rounds in my mask, washing and sanitising if I remembered. Things like this don’t happen to us, it happens to others, I continued to think.
Till one day in October 2020, my auntie called me from Ghana to check on my dad’s whereabouts. He lived alone in Geneva, Switzerland and no one had heard from him in three days. After a few calls to friends and the University Hospital we found out my diabetic father was in a coma with covid-19 being assisted with a breathing machine. I was devastated and immediately made plans to travel. I visited the UK government website to find out what the travel restrictions were and what obligations I had to submit to.
Luckily, I had a reasonable reason for the trip and all I had to do upon arrival was to fill a Declaration to travel Form and do a COVID test, to self-isolate if it was positive. I found out that for people who needed a negative COVID-19 test to enter a country, had to use a private test provider for a Fit-to-Fly PCR test. The NHS Test and Trace service could not provide the services needed. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect international travel. UK travellers are advised not travel abroad unless they have a permitted reason to do so. It is still illegal to travel abroad for holidays.
Fortunately, my dad pulled through and is home now enjoying the finer things in life. I have definitely had a wake-up call not to sit on my laurels and think me and mine are somehow exempt from worldwide pandemics.