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Better safe than sorry: Singapore athletes self-isolate after flying home

Staying at home is proving to be a challenge for many, but some Singapore athletes had elected to self-isolate at home after returning from overseas stints.

After taking part in the All England Open in Birmingham, shuttler Yeo Jia Min had returned to Singapore on March 15, a day before the Ministry of Health's (MOH) 14-day stay-home notice (SHN) for travellers from the United Kingdom came into effect.

But, just to be on the safe side, she decided to impose a two-week SHN on herself, saying: "After participating in (overseas) tournaments, I feel that I have this responsibility to isolate myself.

"Although I missed the date to be issued home stay by a day, I felt the need to be responsible to the people around me."

The 21-year-old, who became the first Singaporean to reach the women's singles quarter-finals of the Badminton World Federation World Championships last year, shared that she felt a little "scared" while in the UK two weeks ago.


The coronavirus situation had started to escalate, but the tournament went ahead, prompting criticism from many shuttlers.

Yeo also noted that there were no health measures such as temperature screening or sanitisation. Hence, she decided to take extra precautions when she returned home.

Just as socially responsible were the sailing pair of Kimberly Lim and Cecilia Low, who self-isolated upon returning home from their training base in Cascais, Portugal, on March 18.

They were not required to do so, as they returned before MOH's updated travel advisory, which mandated that all travellers entering Singapore from 11.59pm on March 20 will be issued an SHN.

The Asian Games champions in the 49erFX class, who have secured an Olympic berth, wanted to err on the side of caution and have since made their rooms their fortress of solitude.

"I have my meals in my own room, separate from my family, and I do not share cutlery or utensils," Lim, 23, said.

"I have been playing VR inshore (a sailing game app) and doing some visualisation of sailing. Also, I have a scheduled exercise time in the day and, apart from that, I catch up on some reading and television shows."

Added the 28-year-old Low: "I do move around the house during the day, but I am very careful of what I touch... and I try to keep a distance with my family... I have also been cleaning my room, revising training plans... and working out."

While the Olympics may have been postponed to next year, they are not letting their muscles idle while they are isolated.

Yeo would do cardio workouts on a stationary bicycle and core workouts with weights borrowed from her older brother.

Said Lim: "We have a video-call team home workout session with our (Singapore Sport Institute strength and conditioning) coach.

"Mainly body weight, circuit and core work, with whatever we can find to use as weights." - TAN KIM HAN & NARENDAREN KARNAGERAN

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