A British national has come forward to reveal some of the deplorable conditions at the COVID-19 Quarantine and Low Risk Treatment Centre at the Malaysia Agro Exposition Park Serdang (MAEPS) recently.
The woman, known as Lucy, posted multiple pictures and videos from the centre alleging that the situation there was less than ideal for anyone to recover from an illness.
Rojak Daily got in touch with Lucy and she gave us permission to use her post on Facebook to inform others of the scenario at MAEPS.
"I got COVID and this is what is happening...I had mild symptoms and was recovering well isolated at home. Getting good healthy food, juices, vitamin supplements and sleep in a comfortable quiet environment.
"All changed when KKM picked me up and took to me Serdang MAEPS centre. In Malaysia it’s compulsory for all positive people to go to a quarantine centre," she said in her post.
She then went on to talk about all the issues she faced which included getting little information from the authorities, living in uncomtable and filthy conditions and not being given essentials such as masks.
She also claimed that there were no sanitisers available and that when she first arrived, she repeatedly requested for pillows and blankets and was eventually told to just grab the used ones from the bed next to hers.
Here's the full list of issues raised from her post:
"Some problems and issues I’ve experienced;
- Being given zero information about where I was going. Told it was Sungai Buloh hospital. Then Serdang hospital.
- No information for what to bring.
- Taken to an enormous hall, in freezing temperatures (I can not feel my fingers and toes).
- No information about anything, no idea about food, medication, toilets, showers, how to get help, drinks, when to get out.
- No blankets or pillows given. Had to repeatedly ask. In end I’m told to take from someone else’s bed who’s left.
- No soap or tissues in toilets. Intermittent water leak/shortages. Hundreds of ladies using same wet place. Forget hygiene. I dread each visit.
- Hard cold camp bed.
- Lights constantly on. I turn them off, then others turn them back on.
- Get woken up repeatedly throughout night from cold, noise, Malay tannoy announcements, uncomfy bed. Lack of sleep feels like torture.
- Food is dry, cold and revolting. No fruits and little veg. Keep getting meat meals brought to me even though I’ve repeatedly told the nurses I’m vegetarian.
- Water dispensers are filthy.
- Highly concerned about food poisoning - a doctor confirmed she found a bug in her food.
- High chance of spread of diseases. Who is vaccinated against TB, measles, HEP, chicken pox?
- No hand sanitiser anywhere.
- No cleaning of sleeping area.
- Overflowing bins.
- No face masks given out.
- No social distancing.
- Not able to receive essential supplies from outside. (Warm clothes, food, medicines).
- No help from the British Embassy or any outside organisation.
- No sunlight or windows in the hall.
- People are hiding their symptoms so they don’t get their stay extended."
Appalled by the conditions
Along with highlighting the issues, Lucy also posted a number of pictures and videos from the quarantine centre itself but when last checked, it appears that the post has been hidden or deleted.
The videos basically show the main sleeping area which was full of beds and people.
The atmosphere was generally quite noisy and music could be heard in one clip as well.
Another video showed bins with overflowing rubbish and a very dirty water dispenser located at the hall.
Being a vegetarian, Lucy also voiced out about the food saying that it "dry, cold and revolting.".
"No fruits and little veg. Keep getting meat meals brought to me even though I’ve repeatedly told the nurses I’m vegetarian," she lamented.
Thankful to the frontliners but concerned about the situation
Lucy went on to say that she was thankful to the frontliners but questioned how one recovers when placed in such a location.
"How to get healthy?
"The medical professionals here agree it’s not ideal conditions, but their hands are tied and they’re doing their best to look after us all. Risking their lives and being away from their families.
"I was told there are 2 doctors here for over 2000 women and children (only over 7 yr old here). I have a lot of respect for all the front liners.
"I’m supposed to be out 13th January (10 days since PCR test result), but now my 5 year old daughter has just tested positive today (they are at home with their dad) and my 7 year old daughter is now having COVID symptoms but negative. Awaiting news of what will happen next ," she wrote.
When Rojak Daily last spoke to Lucy, she said that her 5-year-old was confirmed with COVID-19 but could not be brought to MAEPS as only those aged 7 and above were allowed there.
"My daughter is positive, she’s 5-years-old. She cannot come here. They won’t let us home quarantine, so only option now is they transfer me to ILKKM so I can be with my daughter," she said.
ILKKM refers to the Pusat Kuarantin dan Rawatan Covid-19 (PKRC) in Sungai Buloh which has been opened as a COVID-19 quarantine centre.
We hope Lucy and her daughter have united now and they will be safe and free from COVID-19 soon.
As for the conditions at MAEPS, we have tried to make contact with The National Disaster Management Agency (NADMA) for comments but they have yet to get back to us.
This is also not the first time issues have been raised about the conditions at the quarantine centre.
Earlier, videos of the crowded halls and lack of social distancing also went viral.
NADMA eventually responded to the viral videos saying that it did not reflect the real situation.
In a report by The Star, NADMA's corporate communication unit head Nur Daliza Dohat said the video did not show the overall picture of the hall.
"The situation provided in the viral video, which showed the centre being supposedly congested is confusing. What is shown in the video is a normal situation during the daily dischage process," Nur Daliza said in the report.
She also explained that partitions were not put up so that it was easier for health workers to monitor the patients and added that physical distancing was still carried out.
What do you think about NADMA's statement and the concerns raised by Lucy?
If the authorities cannot handle the sheer volume of people at MAEPS (the place can hold up to 10,000 beds), then perhaps home quarantine should be allowed? What do you think? Tell us in the comments.