Transition Under Pandemic

Hi there,

Last month was stressful due to the transition and Covid-19 situation in Bangkok. I had trouble sleeping throughout the whole month.

9 July – I went to send a letter at a post office.

2-16 July – The post office closed due to several infected employees.

14 July – EU removed Thailand from the green list meaning Thailand was on entry ban list. 

16 July – I started to have phlegm in my throat. I got panicked.

17 July – I ordered rapid test kits for myself and family. I tested right away. It was negative. Then I watched a clip about the self test and got very unsure if I inserted the swab correctly and deeply enough. Anyhow, I didn’t think it was Covid because I didn’t have any other symptoms. It was only phlegm in my throat. No sore throat, no cough, no fever. I started to realise that it might be because that week I ate ice cream everyday. That might cause the phlegm so I stoped eating ice cream from then on :(

22 July – Sweden removed Thailand from the green list according to EU (the week before). Although my residence permit exempted me from the entry ban, it didn’t make me feel easy. Situation changed fast and the policies were updated very often. 

24 July – The phlegm was still there. I did another test and this time I made sure I inserted the swab deep enough. It was negative again. I was relieved a bit. It had been 14 days since I went to the post office and I hadn’t had fever at all. I was quite certain that it wasn’t Covid. 

I stayed home most of the time. After 9 July, I only went out once to the Swedish embassy to pick up the work permit card and it was by an appointment. Therefore I met only a few people on the day and seldom had any interaction. 

Another stressful point was that I had to get a Covid test before the flight as I had to present a negative Covid test result that was done within 48 hours prior to arrival. Since there was no direct flight from Bangkok to Sweden, all flights would have at least 1 stop. Hence, it would take at least about 14 hours to arrive Sweden and most flights left at night. I had to get the test in the morning and get the result within the same day before departure.

The Covid situation in Thailand was approaching the peak. Healthcare system in Bangkok was collapsing. Most clinics and hospitals couldn’t provide the same-day test result (RT-PCR test) because of the high number of test cases. It was not easy and cheap to find one. I called several places to check. Earlier some places can offer the same-day test result, but when I checked again later, they can’t do it anymore. It had to be 24-48 hours instead. Fortunately, beside RT-PCR test, the antigen test was accepted among the EU countries. Though I still had to check the transit country if they accepted it or not. 

1 August – I went to a hospital to get antigen test. The result was negative. Still, I was anxious about the flight I would take at night. I had to change a flight in Austria. I checked the policies many times to make sure that they accepted the antigen test result. It didn’t feel easy at all. 

When I checked in at the airport, the staff checked my test result and everything went fine. The flight was quite empty. There were about 40 passengers on the plane. So everyone could just take a row of seats for themselves. 

2 August – I arrived Vienna for transit. The migration only checked my residence permit and passport. They didn’t even check my Covid test result. The flight from Vienna to Stockholm was fully booked. That was the scariest moment for me as I hadn’t got vaccinated yet. Although other passengers wore a mask, many of them didn’t take it seriously. Some even took it off during the flight :/ I arrived Stockholm smoothly and didn’t have to get through the migration again. I guess it was because I came from Austrian. To sum up, it was only the staff at the airport in Bangkok that checked my Covid test result.

After arrival, I took a train to Gothenburg. There, people didn’t wear a mask in public. There were a very few people wearing a mask. It was so different from Thailand.

3 August – As I arrived from Thailand, it was suggested to do self-quarantine for 5 days and got a test again. I tried to look up for the test information but it didn’t seem to work for me as it required me to register using BankID (which I hadn’t had it work). So I went to check at the clinic nearby and was invited to get vaccinated right away. I only needed to show my Swedish ID card. At first, it was a bit problematic since my name hadn’t been registered in the system (I went to register my new address in the same morning). Though they helped me manage all that and I eventually got the vaccine (Pfizer) without paying anything. I wished it was as this simple as in Thailand :/

Note that in Sweden, normally you needed to make an appointment to get vaccinated. By the time I arrived, they were doing the second dose in the country and it was quite late in the round. So the queue was not that hectic. As a result, I can do walk-in to get vaccinated.

What a journey! At this point, my stress and anxiety gradually went away. I started to be able to sleep normally again. 

See you later,

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