Journey through three continents to return home amid Covid-19 1

Journey through three continents to return home amid Covid-19 1

When Shibani Mahtani left Hong Kong for England, she did not anticipate that she would have to travel to the United States on a 5-week journey with 12 tests.

Shibani Mahtani is the Washington Post’s Southeast Asia bureau chief and has been working in Hong Kong for the past several months.

Shibani Mahtani captured the sunrise while waiting for 7 hours at Hong Kong airport.

When the quarantine period was reduced to 14 days, then seven days for fully vaccinated people at the end of June, Mahtani booked a plane ticket, renewed his visa and rushed to get the necessary serology test.

Hong Kong was then on the UK’s `yellow` list, meaning people entering from this city had to self-isolate for 10 days or accept additional testing at a fee to end home quarantine early on the fifth day.

A few days later, Mahtani received bad news: Hong Kong issued regulations banning all people from the UK.

To avoid the ban, Mahtani had to go to a country other than England, live there for 21 days and then fly back to Hong Kong.

She encountered another problem: The US is still closed to people from the UK, even those with US visas, unless they qualify to be in the exception group.

So, Mahtani once again collected documents, the latest nCoV test results (up to this point, Mahtani had tested his oropharynx 4 times in two weeks) and checked in at Heathrow airport.

While Mahtani waited an hour for approval, check-in staff described the daily chaos at Heathrow.

Finally, Mahtani was allowed to leave the country and go to the boarding gate.

`When I got to the US, the next three weeks were easy, which is proof of how lax the restrictions there are compared to other places. It was surprising to see people not wearing masks indoors and

`When I don’t wear a mask, I constantly touch my face, a reflex after 17 months of wearing a mask almost everywhere, even the gym, in Hong Kong,` she added.

After three weeks in America, Mahtani returned to Hong Kong.

After a 16-hour flight, Mahtani had to go through a document check and nCoV test upon arrival.

Journey through three continents to return home amid Covid-19

Shibani Mahtani took a test while quarantined at a hotel in Hong Kong.

After 7 hours, Mahtani completed immigration procedures and was put on a bus to go to the quarantine hotel.

`I’m now nearing the end of my 7-day quarantine. I have to have a nasopharyngeal test on day 5, this is the 9th time I’ve had a nasopharyngeal test on the trip. After completing the quarantine, we will need to take

`The city has gone nearly two months without a case in the community. Hong Kong, once dependent on tourism, will soon begin allowing non-permanent residents to enter, but only if they follow the rules

`And when I get my nose poked for the final test, I won’t be going anywhere for a long time, unless they change the rules.`

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