Not quite Beverly Hills, says woman quarantined at 5-star hotel

Alice’s room at the hotel in Petaling Jaya.

PETALING JAYA: For many, the idea of a two-week quarantine at a five-star hotel conjures up images of lounging in bathrobes as waiters bring tea and pastries in silver dishes to deep-carpeted rooms.

But 36-year-old Alice, who was quarantined at one such hotel here upon her arrival from London, says it is nothing like that at all.

Her 291 sq ft room is more like “a prison without keycards”, she told FMT.

Alice, who works as an IT consultant in the UK, arrived at KLIA early Sunday morning. She was sprayed with disinfectant on the tarmac before being interviewed by health officers.

Several hours later, a bus from the prisons department arrived to take her and 25 others to the hotel. There, they were marched past gun-toting military men at the lobby before being assigned their rooms.

“I wish they would let us go for walks down the corridor from time to time, just so we could get some exercise,” she said.

But that remains a distant dream as they are not allowed to leave their rooms even for food. Instead, meals are left outside their doors with no room service allowed despite permission from the National Disaster Management Agency to order food outside of regular mealtimes.

Some of the meals Alice has been receiving.

The food provided is unappetising, Alice said, describing limp greens and diced fruit out of tins. As for water, she has been given seven small bottles. She said government officers told her that these would be replenished once a week.

“The room is not big and you can’t walk much. I can’t even order room service, and I am severely jet-lagged.

“It’s day three and I’m barely surviving,” she told FMT over the phone yesterday.

Alice said she returned to Malaysia as she had no family close by in the UK and her dad was worried about the rising number of cases there.

She also wanted to be with her father who is 71 years old.

But she still has two and a half weeks to go before she can reunite with him, and cooped up in her hotel room, she says there’s nothing much she can do.

“With just five channels on TV, most of them news channels going on and on about the coronavirus, I think I’m becoming depressed.”

Malaysians returning from overseas must be confined at quarantine centres for 14 days as part of government efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19.

The centres include luxury establishments such as the Hilton and Sheraton Hotel.

The federal government will fork out RM150 per person to cover their meals and accommodation.