Isabel van Benthem (19) from Eindhoven was stuck in a Corona hotel on Mallorca for twelve days. She was the only one of her group of friends who tested positive before the return journey and was therefore not allowed to fly home. “I was looking forward to an unforgettable holiday with my friends. It worked”, she says somewhat ironically.
More seriously, she tells Omroep Brabant: “I have been free again for four days now, because that is how it feels, and I am only now feeling the tiredness from all the uncertainty, stress and boredom that my 12 days in detention brought me”.
Up until a day before departure, it had been a successful holiday for Isabel and her group of friends. It was everything you imagine a summer holiday to be: sun, sea, beach and drinks until late in the evening. Until one day before departure, Isabel was the only one to test positive in an antigen test. She spent the last day of her holiday in her hotel room, waiting for the results of her PCR test.
“I called my parents a lot on the first day while waiting for the results. My friends with whom I was on holiday were also worried. Nobody could do anything. You just have to wait and see. It turned out badly, she unfortunately had to go into quarantine”.
Isabel had to spend the first four days in her self-booked hotel room because the quarantine hotels were full. “After those four days, I went to the guarded quarantine hotel in an ambulance, which drew a lot of attention. I still had no idea how long my mandatory stay would be. I got clarity on day 7 after a lot of fussing. It was going to be 12 days, which was until last Friday”.
Isabel experienced the quarantine as a punishment. “You can’t order food. The food you get is unrecognisable. It looks like baby food or cat food. You also only get three bottles of water while it is 34 degrees outside. There are guards everywhere to prevent you from fleeing the hotel”.
The uncertainty, the horrible food and the loneliness cost Isabel more energy than she had thought. “On Friday, I left for my parents in Barcelona. I am now recovering. I don’t know exactly why I feel so tired. Is it still an after effect of corona? I only had a slight cold, but still. Is it the lack of movement from being in bed for 12 days? Is it the tension and uncertainty? Is it the lack of social contact?” Isabel doesn’t know.
There were also beautiful moments during the 12 quarantine days: “I got in touch with a boy via social media. He delivered me crisps and ice tea via the back door. The food package had to be pulled up to my room with a thin rope to get to me. I was so afraid that the rope would break”, she says.
Whether she will receive a bill for her quarantine days, Isabel does not know. “I have shown my health card, so maybe there will be a bill. My parents have been in contact with the embassy, and they were surprised that I couldn’t order food. Other than that, they couldn’t do much for me. Now I hope that I can travel home without any problems. That trip does make me feel a bit nervous.”
Eindhoven News translator: Bob