Comfy hotels to roach-infested motel: A Malaysian family's Indian lockdown experience

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 25 Mar 2020

Jetinder (fifth from left, back row) says the his family has been stuck in India since all flights back to Malaysia have been cancelled.

PETALING JAYA: From staying at comfortable hotels during their holiday in India, a Malaysian family's getaway turned into a nightmarish experience after the South Asian country went into lockdown to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Jetinder Singh, 28, said that he and his extended family – comprising 16 Malaysians from the ages of seven to 74 – are currently stuck in a hotel in Amritsar.

He said they arrived in India on March 7 and were supposed to leave on March 21, but were told a day before that their flights had been cancelled.

The hotel they were in then, located close to the Golden Temple in Amritsar, said they could not host them anymore as its staff had returned home due to the lockdown.

Jetinder said another Malaysian there managed to find them alternate accommodation for the time being.

Unfortunately, when the Indian police took the family to the hotel, Jetinder was taken aback by the establishment, which he described as "run-down and dirty".

"There were cockroaches running everywhere and the kids could not stop crying. The rooms were also very dusty.

"We are afraid that we won't get sick from Covid-19 – but because of the conditions here," said the engineer from Kuala Lumpur.

He added that there were two heart patients in the group.

"It is very depressing. We all want to go home and are waiting for someone to rescue us," he said.

Jetinder added they are not allowed to leave the hotel and have been confined to their rooms for the past three days.

He said to make things worse, they are running out of money as it costs about RM1,000 daily to pay for food and the five rooms they are staying in.

"We never expected such a thing would happen. It is our first time in India for many of us but it has turned into a nightmare," he said, adding that they are toughing things out together as a family.

He hoped the Malaysian and Indian governments are able to work something out for those those stuck in the country.

"We would be more than happy to quarantine ourselves back home for 14 days," he said.

Another six Malaysians are currently stranded in the village of Talwandi Kalan in Ludhina, Punjab.

Kajeldeep Kaur, 24, said she and five relatives, including her 72-year-old grandmother, are staying at a relative's house.

Kajeldeep (left), says the family they are staying with is running out of food.Kajeldeep (left), says the family they are staying with is running out of food.They arrived in India on March 4 and were supposed to head back on March 23, but were unable to after their flight was cancelled.

She said three in her family are running out of medication for diabetes and a thyroid condition.

She also said they had to ration their food and are worried that this may run out soon.

Kajeldeep said that several groups, including MIC, are trying their best to help.

According to Bernama, more than 1,250 Malaysians have been brought to Kuala Lumpur from India on special flights since air travel was disrupted due to the country's suspension of flights.

According to them, there are still 800 Malaysians in southern India, 437 in New Delhi and the northern region, and 41 in Mumbai.

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Covid-19 , Coronavirus , India , Lockdown


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