GEORGE TOWN: Rice cooker, stove, microwave oven and hair dryer – these were among the appliances that family members tried to pass to their loved ones holed up at a quarantine centre.
There was also a treadmill and even a portable washing machine from those anxious about the well-being of these persons-under-surveillance (PUS).
“We have to decline these items as they are too big to be carried upstairs,” said Malaysian Civil Defence Force staff member Rozihan Razni Abdul Rahim, 32.
Furthermore, it could lead to much power consumption, he explained.
But in general, he said that they would accept packages delivered to the PUS most of the time to make them feel comfortable during their stay.
The most popular items sent to the centre daily were food.
“The delivery must be done between 2pm and 4pm,” he said.
He said they would wear personal protective equipment to send the parcels to the PUS.
Rohizan, who is a quarantine centre assistant supervisor at a hotel in Tanjung Bungah, said he had “seen it all” since the centre opened in July last year.
He spoke of seeing cases of “alcohol withdrawal symptoms” among some PUS and finding drugs hidden in a biscuit tin.
“Crates of beer, cigarettes, a computer. These are some of the many items we received from the delivery service and PUS family members.”
He said there were also cases of family members sending alcohol packed in milk and green tea cartons.
“However, if the seal is broken, we usually inspect the item as part of procedures,” he added.
Those staying at the centre were aware that alcohol and certain food (non-halal) are prohibited.
Such rules are stated when they sign the declaration form before they check into the centre.
However, Rozihan said they would not discard the prohibited items but return them to their owners when they leave the centre.
For those who are alcoholic, they would refer these cases to the doctor stationed at the centre.
He said three months ago the centre received a tin of biscuits with a broken seal and when they inspected it, they found a pack of ganja hidden inside.
They alerted the police, he added.
Rozihan said they would also reach out to those cooped up in the room to ease their stress during their stay.
The hotel is one of two compulsory quarantine centres in the state for those returning from overseas during the pandemic.