CoronaVirus: Life Inside a Myanmar Government Facility: Food & Treatment
The Facility – Waibargi Infectious Diseases Hospital
North Okkalapa is the location of the hospital – which makes it quite close to the airport as many of the temporary residents like me are spending their time in quarantine in the hospital. Since the beginning of the CoronaVirus Criss or China Virus as Trump likes do name it most of the foreigners or locals are being held in here.
I was taken after my flight from Zanzibar to Yangon landed on 14th of March 2020 – wow already 5 days have past ( 9 or 7 to go depending on the coronavirus tests which are due tomorrow) and because I had written Berlin as my travel history (left 6th of March to Belgium) I was put under a 14 days hospital quarantine. To be honest I was expecting a 14 days home quarantine as I did not show any symptoms like fever or cough in the past months whatsoever. I think they want to be sure of no virus comes to Myanmar (as today there are no confirmed cases in Myanmar but this can be to do many reason which I will expose in the future blog).
So as we arrived around 9pm at the hospital (less than 15 minutes from the Yangon Airport) we were taken to a private facility of the hospital. By private I mean each person has it’s own room with private bathroom & cold shower (sorry guys – no hot water). I will call it Level 1 facility as currency I have been moved 2 days ago at a Level 2 ward (that’s the name I gave to it).
My luck is my wife which is burmese and since the level of english in the local hospital is quite low I don’t know how it would have been only me.
They did not give us any information on arrival – how long we would be put in quarantine because of the coronavirus , are we going to be tested or not and so on.
Room @ Level 1 Facility of Coronavirus
In this area are put in quarantine all persons which no symptoms – or this is what I have realized. I was taken to floor no 2 by an local doctor which had minum protection (normal chirurgical mask), gloves and a surgery suit which does not give you a great protection again coronavirus). We have meet 2 more locals which were taken in the same day from us as they come from either Germany or Belgium.
First me and my wife we put in 2 seperate room but we decided to stay tougher but since they could not move the bed on that evening we have shared a small hospital bed for that night – it was not the best sleep I had in years but at least it was at least a bed.
Each bed had a blanket (not too clean), bed sheet ( worse than the blanket) and close to it a small cabinet where the upper part can be used as a trail to it and inside can put your stuff.
On arrival we were given some bodylotion, 2 toothbrush and 1 Colgate plus 2 small towels. You can take water via refill box from outside.
Important note: You can ask your friends to bring things from you; if you are a foreigner my suggestion is to be a local and he or she will get better understanding with the local staff. Can bring food (already cooked), clothes and anything else you need. But in the same time you can not send things back.
I was surprised that we can ask to do your laundry as well! Since we were coming back from our holiday and the canceled ITB Berlin most of our clothes were not washed and asked them to wash some of them.
Most important room has AC. Our first room the AC was working great but we have choose my wife room as a temporary “residence” and the AC there it was not that powerfull and not to much cold aer coming. But it did his job as we are used without having one.
Bathroom was the biggest issues in our room – the toilet did not flush properly (had to do it manually) but this was not my biggest concern. The shower hole was not properly build by the constructor (can say it was the myanmar way of doing it) and water did not leaked out accordingly. Taking into consideration that this is a hospital which treats are infectious disease I think it’s a major issue. Even when asked to be fixed after 2 days noone came do fix it.
Lucky I scared a intern doctor or nurse (most of the person who were coming to take our daily temperature) got scared one day when my body temperature reached 37.2 degrees (which is a bit normal). But he call The Profesor (the person probably which takes all the decision) and were told in the middle of the night to pack our staff and to be moved to a different ward.
I was a bit scared at that moment as not knowing how the second place would be looking like but my fears were to be removed shortly.
Level 2: Facility
While in the first facility I was welcomed by a nurse with normal protective gear, here at our second level facility (which was literally 200m away but we had to use the local ambulance again) things were a bit different. We were welcomed and taken in our room by a doctor with full protective glasses, costume, boots and so on. We were informed that will be have the CoronaVirus test the next (next day I had only the CT scan and today – 19th March I had the swab test taken from both nose and mouth) and tomorrow will probably know the results.
At first I considered a downgrade as toilet and shower are in shared facility but having see the measure taken here I feel more safe then in the other location.
There are 2 beds located at least 3 meters away from each other and we have a mosquito nest as well – the other place did not have any and there were quite a few mosquitos every evening. Taking into consideration that the dengue season in coming in the next 3 months it’s not good place to be located.
There is big bin where to put the garbage which is being collected twice a day. A phone call in inside in order to minimalize the staff visit to the room.
We even have WIFI! But not sure why the passport given it’s not working or it’s a bit too complicated and don’t know the letter (small or big). Plus the data from Telenor Myanmar is working quite OK and no need to download movies even if I am eager to see the new serie from HBO – WestWorld when I will finish my quarantine in here!
Compared with the other place in here you have acces to hand sanitizer (2 bottle – one bottle for each person)
The toilet and the shower room is clean enough but don’t think as back in your european country; I have seen worse. The downside of this place is that there are shortages of running water (not sure where is the problem as in the other ward it was working most of the time)
I am not a morning person; like to wake up after 8.30am or 9am the latest and in weekend stay in bed as much as I can.
First call is at 6.30am to 7.00am when the medical team (2 girl doctors) come and take out temperature, blood pressure and I think the oxygen level . So far our daily test and OK and and no fever, dry cough or other symptoms of the coronavirus.
Then just before lunch at 12pm the second test is carried out. The last test of the day is taken after 6pm and this test is made probably by a leading doctor as she offers us the information we are missing and her english is quite great!
Notes are taken on a normal page (not format with lines, tabs etc) and since they are wearing the glasses they don’t see very well the numbers (heat and moisture) and my wife has started to write down on the paper.
Food @ Local Facility
I am not a person that eats a lot and usually and get along with any kid of food including the burmese cuisine which tends to be a bit oily for my taste. In the first facility meals were given in the same time or after the check out was taken. Breakfast consists of rice & bean & egg (typical myanmar food), lunch was rice, vegetable, fish or fish cake and dinner similar as lunch. They are using a catering company as have seen the logo on it.
As for the test – excellent. I did not have the need to stay in the hospitals but everyone remembers the food quality – no taste, no salt and so one. Here to be honest is more than OK and I have eaten in some restaurants in Yangon lower quality then the hospital in Yangon.
The Second Level Facility food is a bit different as they don’t use the same company (strange, no?)
When I saw the word milk I was super happy as I am a big fan of drinking milk on daily basis; today I had that menu set but the milk was the sweet when as it’s served in many countries around Asia. Tomorrow will go back to the same menu as the coffee was quite good.
Lunch we choose (they call us around lunch time in order to select the food for the next day) the rice + vegetable which was very tasteful!
As we are already in the day 5 of the quarantine at the hospital and tomorrow the test are due (hoping to go from 14 to 7 but not sure how it would the professor will count) we hope to have more details by tomorrow! Stay safe of CoronaVirus!