Albeit difficult to be cooped up at home, one has the luxury still to move around from one room to another. But imagine being confined to a room for 14 days… 35 square-metres of space. This is what I’m currently in as everyone entering Malaysia, will have to go through a mandatory quarantine to lower the risk of a second wave via imported cases.
The first 48 hours was somewhat erratic.
In each room, there is a document that lines out the house rules. There is a table that is set outside the room door where meals are placed. To keep in line with social distancing, the hotel staff will place the meals on the table, ring the door bell to let you that the meal has been delivered.
Meals times are as follows;
Breakfast: 7am – 8am
Lunch: 12pm – 1pm
Dinner: 7pm – 8pm
Safe to say, within 15 minutes my meal arrived with a very apologetic hotel staff and reception called to check on me to ensure I got my dinner - which is nice to know they care.
My room is somewhat a little special in layout. I have a front door, a short personal corridor that leads to two other rooms within this space. My room is one of the two and by right, the first door, leading down to my room should have been kept open – it wasn’t and no one told me to do so until then.
A hand full of hotel staff working around the clock to not only deliver meals and cater to our small request, but also monitor security ensuring everyone stays in their rooms. This was a trial and error for everyone in management to figure out what works best – by day 3 and 4, things improved. They got a hang of it and meals were delivered within time and I’d like to believe most of us in quarantine got into the rhythm of it.
I think in the process of preparing these rooms, the hotel staff added in the essentials but sort of forgot to remove certain things, such as place cards of offers that they have. One of it was for laundry, which made me feel relieved to know that I didn’t have to hand wash my clothes.
When I enquire about this I got to find out other information. I am allowed to purchase items online or get a member of family to drop it off for me.
Items allowed: Dried prepacked goods, such as cookies, whole fruit, instant noodles, teas, coffee etc. Anything that is store bought and not home cooked or packed.
Items not allowed: Cooked food, food order in via Grab Food, Food Panda and the likes. Even home cooked meals are not allowed and beverages (starbucks and bubble tea is a no-no unless it comes in a can).
As it is, there are limited people on hand working here including the MOH staff (we have 7). If one or a number of us falls ill from food poisoning, it would put the team here under pressure to ensure these individuals are cared for on top of the need to monitor everyone in the building here. Also, if you are seriously ill, you will be taken to the hospital and admitted for treatment. But when you have recovered, you will be placed back into quarantine and restart from day one – this is the information I am reading from those who have experienced this first hand. So try not to fall ill in quarantine if you want to get home soon!
Within the first 48 hours, I got my first swab test done. A medical team from the Ministry of Health (MOH) came around in the afternoon, dressed in full personal protective equipment (PPE) to take swabs. A nasal swab was done, a tad bit uncomfortable as a long cotton bud is put up into your nostrils, and twisted around a little before removing it. Takes about 5 seconds but even after its over, you do feel a little uncomfortable. But the sensation eventually fades within the hour or so.
Later in the evening another medical team came around to check on my overall health, wanting to know if I had any underlying illness or if I was on medication. Before they left, I did ask if it was possible to have some Paracetamol as I’ve been having headache spells, to which they provided.
*if you are not acquainted with a Malaysian, a majority of us do love our food. While having breakfast, we would start to talk about what we would have for lunch or dinner. Or we would start to compare food from one place to the next, sometimes from one state to another. We would travel to other states just to go on a food-safari over the weekend – seriously some Malaysians do..
Through this group, I made friends with another person in quarantine in the same hotel as me. Its not just nice but also comforting but have a quarantine buddy, knowing both of us are going through the same thing together and cross checking information (half of it has been regarding the room service menu). The group is also a great place for information for those who are seeking to head back home to Malaysia as some active users post up relevant information or current news articles on airline travel.