Quarantine in Yangon is required both for ex-pats arriving in Myanmar, as well as those returning from other parts of the country. Guests in this type of quarantine have not had a positive test, and do not have any symptoms of Covid-19.
From the moment they step off the plane, passengers are treated as if they are contagious. The precautions that are taken are impressive.
From the immigration process to baggage claim, all the details are taken care of.
The passengers on each flight are booked in the same one or two hotels for quarantine to simplify keeping track of everyone arriving. These include big hotels like Chatrium, Pan Pacific, and Sedona, among others.
The driver, wearing full PPE, pulls up to the parking garage, and all check-in procedures happen in socially distanced chairs in the parking garage.
“When you say goodbye to your colleagues, you know you won’t be seeing any more faces for a while,” Sonya Hahm commented.
You are lucky if you have a nice view, but even luckier if you have a balcony, or even a window that opens.
Once in the room, the waiting begins. First, waiting for luggage, which is sanitized before it is brought up. Next is waiting for food.
But once the food starts coming, it feels like it will never stop! Three times a day, full trays of food in plastic containers appear outside the door. It’s a shame to throw away food, but it isn’t easy to eat so much with so little opportunity for exercise!
While you are in hotel quarantine, you cannot leave your room for any reason. The only time you open the door is to take a delivery that was placed outside. One woman said she happened to open her door at the same time as a colleague, and they began to exchange a few words. However, almost immediately, the hotel room telephone started ringing, and she was instructed to stay in her room.
After a few days of isolation, it’s time for the required Covid-19 test. As unpleasant as testing is, it feels good to walk and feel a bit of freedom outside of four walls. But the process only takes minutes, as a man in a box reaches gloved hands through the openings in the container to swab noses and throats.
Then the waiting begins again. If anyone on the flight tests positive, it is possible that everyone will be required to stay in the hotel for 21 days. If everyone has a negative result, many can go home for the second week of quarantine, and will be free to move around after 14 days. The hotel desk calls the room with news of the results and the verdict on when you can check out.
As tough as it seems to stay in a hotel room without leaving for two weeks, we are quite fortunate in Myanmar. In many other countries, there aren’t such organized facilities for the required quarantine, and you are left fending for yourself for meals and logistics. Hotel quarantine in Yangon is a well-organized experience.