My Twilight Zone return and quarantine experience


  • Letters
  • Tuesday, 02 Jun 2020

I am from batch flight KA725 from Hong Kong, that flew into the country on April 29 with just nine passengers. I arrived in Kuala Lumpur feeling anxious, wondering where I would be taken for my 14-day quarantine. We were greeted by officers and staff who asked us to line up in a single file. The airport was very quiet and eerie, like it was in a Twilight Zone, and everyone had masks on.

We were taken systematically through the airport, guided by different groups of officers at various points, like immigration, baggage collection, etc, with lines on the floor to help us maintain the correct distance. There was a health check point with health officers in pink and white hazmat suits where we had nose swabs done. I was scared and held onto the lady officer’s hand, and she was very gentle and made me feel comfortable.

Finally, as we exited the airport, I asked one of the officers, “Where are we going?” He replied, “Dorsett Putrajaya Hotel.”

Outside the airport, there was a group of army type officers dressed in green clothes under hazmat suits and they asked us to line up our bags on the pavement in front of our coach (including our personal handbags). The bags were then sprayed (literally drenched) with a disinfectant spray. When we boarded the coach, a small bag with a bottle of water, biscuit and a juice box was distributed to all of us. We had our phones, thank goodness and I informed my family where I would be.

At the hotel, we were ushered to an entrance away from the main one that had been cordoned off. Everyone was in hazmat suits again (looking like astronauts to me) as they took our details down.

Quite quickly, I had my room key in hand and was guided to a lift and I quickly and quietly hobbled along, feeling anxious again, tired and uncomfortable from long hours of wearing the mask. I finally found Room 804. I took a deep breath, opened the door, stumbled in, looked around and immediately breathed a sigh of relief. Thank you, Lord!

The room was nice and spacious with a good amount of space for me to walk around and do some exercise in! The bathroom and shower were spacious too and there were the usual mini fridge and everything needed to make tea and coffee.

We were provided with a dozen-plus 500ml mineral water bottles, a huge Ziploc bag full of snacks (biscuit, chips, cup noodles, more water, juice packets). And we received another snack pack after a few days again of biscuits and chrysanthemum tea (and more water). Great!

In addition, we got a bathroom essentials kit of some basic necessities. Three meals a day were provided at specific times, and announcements would be made for us to take our meals in, along with other important information, through speakers in the room.

A room service menu was provided as an option, at your own cost. The food provided was a pretty decent variety, served in generous amounts, with a plate of fruit at every meal. I requested some vegetarian meals which they willingly accommodated and those were very tasty too. We were also asked if we had any allergies/dietary restrictions. Laundry and cleaning services were not offered during this time, but they provided what was necessary in the room. For our safety, food deliveries and even home-cooked food was prohibited.

Rules were very strict: We were not allowed outside our rooms except to carry in our meal trays that were placed on a chair outside the room so there was no contact with staff; and we could step outside to place our rubbish or when required to go to level five by Health Ministry staff.

We were also given a health kit with a hand sanitizer and thermometer to monitor our temperature every day. We received daily calls from ministry staff checking on us, asking if we had any symptoms, and on the 11th day of our quarantine, we had to do a mouth swab for a second test.

On May 12, my13th night, I received a call from the ministry saying my tests were negative. I could go home the next morning. What a relief!

My experience at this hotel was a very smooth and comfortable one. Periodically, we filled out forms so officers could check on how we felt emotionally and physically. The WiFi connection was also very fast and strong – I am truly grateful for this especially, as I could connect with my family and friends. This really helped me when I had a couple of low moments; the Health Ministry staff were very comforting too.

I would like to thank the staff and management of the Dorsett Putrajaya for their kindness, friendliness and co-operation with my requests. Also to the whole team from the quarantine station and mission – the Health Ministry, the police, army, Social Welfare Department, National Anti-Disaster Management Agency, Malaysia Civil Defence Force, the PUS (Person Under Surveillance) team and all frontliners, thanks for a great job done. (Forgive me, if I have missed out any names or agencies.)

I got home on May 14, at about noon. Thank you, dear Lord!

VENITA

Kuala Lumpur

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