As I mentioned in my previous post about getting back to Malaysia during Covid, even vaccinated travelers have to quarantine. Luckily, the quarantine period is down to seven days from fourteen and you can now quarantine from home (instead of an expensive hotel). My arrival process went as follows:
At the Airport
I arrived in Kuala Lumpur exhausted from over 24 hours of travel time but awake with the realization I was far from the end.
The first thing everyone had to do upon arrival was scan a QR code with the MySejahtera app and fill out their arrival information. Then we all got herded onto a bus and taken to a different terminal where someone checked the app and we were sent to the next station.
Then a woman at a table checked my home quarantine letter and gave me a document with the procedures I need to follow for home quarantine. She put a pink wristband on me to indicate I was quarantined for 7 days and told me I wasn’t allowed to remove it.
Then I went to the covid testing station and got a straw shoved up my nose.
At the payment counter, I paid my 250 RM (about $60 US) for getting the straw shoved up my nose.
Next, I stood at immigration for foreigners where two people were checking the documents for a very long line. I was only maybe 8th but this part took at least an hour.
The women looked at my invitation letter, took my passport for processing, and sent me to another room. I waited until I was called up to a little window and given my temporary visa; I’ll send off my passport for my official student visa later this month.
For all the hype of arriving in the airport, leaving the airport was incredibly lax. I easily could have had a friend pick me up and take me anywhere. I tried to show my official quarantine form to the taxi driver and he couldn’t have cared less.
And then…I was back!
As soon as I arrived and was back in my apartment, the guards of my building called to double-check I was doing home quarantine. The concierge called me the next day too and wanted to know what I had done to Bryan (who had been subletting my apartment while I was gone). They were all really kind and were very helpful sending up food and groceries to my door.
Home quarantine was a blessing in disguise. My jet lag was awful so it was actually very nice to be forced to take a week without doing anything and just catch up on sleep. Seven days flew by so fast.
On Day 3 of quarantine, my health app updated to say my airport covid test was negative.
On Day 5 of quarantine, I had to schedule another covid test. I alerted the staff and someone came to do the test in my apartment. He was thirty minutes early so when he arrived I hadn’t showered or done my hair and was still in my pajamas.
The whole procedure took about 5 minutes and he told me I was beautiful and that when he saw me I “stopped [his] heart.” From now on I am only getting covid tests from this organization. Five out of five stars.
The next morning my negative results popped up in my app.
Honestly, the whole home quarantine thing was incredibly relaxed. Apparently, I didn’t even have to do a home covid test but could have gone to a nearby clinic. No one ever checked up on me to see if I was there (although my app showed I am under surveillance so I couldn’t have gone anywhere if I tried to break it. All restaurants/malls/etc.. need to see your app for entrance).
I even managed to sign the lease to my new apartment by sliding it under the door to the agent/landlord.
Last Sunday, I was allowed to leave in the morning to get my wrist band officially cut off. The security guards made me sneak out the back using the service elevator which seemed somewhat excessive. Then I got a car to the designated Covid release center which was located in a park.
I stood in line for about an hour but once it was my turn the entire process took less than two minutes for them to cut off the bracelet and give me an official lease letter.
While leaving, I realized I didn’t have working data so the security guards helped me call a Grab (like an Uber).
It took a while for my app to update. I tried to go to lunch with my friend Imee and the app still said “high risk.” The restaurant tried to deny us entry but then we refreshed it and it switched down to “low risk.” This is all a very different world from Covid in the U.S.
But it’s great to be back!