As weeks turn to months the mental health of those in quarantine has become a concern.

The first batch of students that returned from the Philippines will be released today, pending test results.

However, those at the Chengs quarantine facility have had their stay extended as further tests are being conducted to ensure the virus is contained.

In a recent interview, health specialist Dr Aaron Oritaimae says the occupants only have their mobile phones and laptops to keep themselves occupied. He acknowledges that over time it has become obvious that it is not enough, especially for those on extended quarantine.

“When we start to look at these issues they tend to come out. But we try to continue to improve every day. We are very much concerned about their mental health, but what we do has to be aligned with the overall workflow’, Oritaimae says.

Camp Manager, Karl Kuper, says they are wary of psychosocial issues that may arise from confining the occupants.

“Within the protective and health sector we are coming up with ways we can help them remain positive and confident for the remainder of their stay”, Kuper says.

Recent assessments have offered some insight into the mental health of those in quarantine, and the need to ensure that early mental health symptoms are picked up.

WHO has said that it is critically important to focus on more than just the physical ailments of COVID-19. Recent surveys have showed sharp increases in the number of people reporting serious psychological stress caused by the pandemic.

Those that are especially vulnerable to adverse psychosocial outcomes include those who were infected by COVID-19, high-risk individuals like seniors and people with compromised immune systems who were not infected, individuals who self-isolate or are in quarantine and those who lost their jobs or battled economic hardships.

Also facing elevated risks are health care and front-line workers who deal with the realities of COVID-19 daily.