I was stationed at a quarantine station in Perlis on 24 April 2020, which was the first day of puasa, when we reopened our state borders and started accepting people to the quarantine station. When we finished the registration process, I rushed back to bersahur with my children, something I had promised them. However, I was only able to eat from outside the house as I was scared to go in. As a mother of 10, I refused to take any chances.
The main difference for me in my role is that in the past, we used to only take care of the safety and well-being of the citizens physically. But when I was managing the quarantine station, I also had to take into consideration the mental well-being of these people, or people under surveillance (PUS). Most of the time, they were riddled with anxiety. You had parents who were worried about their children at home, a father who was worried about the well-being of his family, and senior citizens worried about where they will go next. I saw people from many different walks of life in the quarantine station and how the COVID-19 affected each and every one of them.
In helping take care of them over a period of 14 days, I got close to many PUS. Even though we had no direct contact with them as they were all quarantined in their own room, we did have a chat group with all of them in it. We would chat in the group and it almost felt like they are family, and that we had known each other for a long time. So much so that when any of their COVID-19 test results came back negative, I was as elated for them as I would have my own family. It was also bittersweet to see them leave, but it was an indication that things will get better.