Corona stigma leaves woman in isolation

Corona testing equipment being demonstrated.
SCIENTIFIC PROOF: Corona testing equipment being demonstrated.
Image: REUTERS / JOSE CABEZAS

From Bizana to Belgium and then to the Bay, a woman who tested negative for Covid-19, on three separate occasions, says she is still being shunned by those around her and has even being dubbed “Rona” by family and friends.

“I was very nervous when the plane was about to land at the OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg when the pilot announced that there were health officials waiting for us when we disembarked,” a 27-year-old woman who asked to be kept anonymous, said.

The woman who is originally from Bizana, but now lives in Port Elizabeth said she was left feeling isolated when she arrived in SA after she returned from a 10-day holiday in the Netherlands, Belgium and France.

She said she was excited when her visa was approved for her holiday. She started preparing for the trip in June 2019, but her euphoria soon turned to anxiety upon her return to SA on March 5.

“I found out about the virus on the plane. We were first tested when we landed, then at passport control and I was tested again when I was in PE.

“I was so relieved when my results came back negative on all three occasions. I didn't feel any symptoms, but I did the third test just to satisfy people around me who thought the symptoms would start showing after three days.”

Though the woman was cleared, she said some people continued to say that it was too early for the symptoms to show and requested her to stay away from them.

“Even after I was tested, not much has changed. People still think that I need to finish 14 days of isolation. Today is my 12th day and this makes me feel as if I'm sick. Nobody wants to hear about the places I've been to. They actually call me Corona or Rona,” the woman said.

Among the things she saw was the Eiffel Tower in Paris, museums and many of the highlights of Amsterdam. She said she loved how nice people were in Europe.

She also tasted tacos for the first time and learnt about the culture and history of the towns she visited.

She said she was amazed to see people smoking weed in public.

But she said while there were aspects and customs which were unfamiliar to her she was more nervous about landing back in SA and the continued stigma surrounding Covid-19 than any potential surprises abroad.


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