Tuesday, April 13

Back to quarantine stations for returnees – Ismail Sabri


Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob – Bernama file photo

KUALA LUMPUR: Beginning July 24, Malaysians and foreigners coming back from overseas will have to undergo 14 days of compulsory isolation at designated quarantine stations and not at their own homes, said Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

Ismail Sabri said the returnees would have to bear the full cost of quarantine at either the Public Training Institute (ILA) or selected hotels based on the charges previously agreed upon.

This was decided at the Special Meeting of Ministers on the Movement Control Order (MCO) today, he told a news conference on the Recovery MCO (RMCO) at Parliament building here.

Ismail Sabri said the National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma) together with the Health Ministry (MOH) would identify and gazette the suitable ILA or hotels as quarantine stations.

“With this decision, Malaysians wishing to return home are no longer required to take Covid-19 swab tests in the country of origin (where they are based) within three days before their departure date as they will be quarantined (on their return).

“However, foreigners are required to the Covid-19 swab tests in their country of origin,” he added.

He said the government decided to impose the compulsory quarantine because there were still cases of people violating the standard operating procedure (SOP) for home quarantine and creating a risk of local transmission of the coronavirus.

“The government views seriously incidents of non-compliance with home quarantine SOP which have caused Covid-19 infection among family members and the local community.

“It is very irresponsible of them to behave that way and the authorities will take firm action including imposing a RM1,000 fine or charge them in court where they can be jailed up to six months,” he added.

He said 403 Malaysians returned yesterday from the United Kingdom, Indonesia, Qatar, Singapore, Pakistan, Japan, China and Thailand via the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and KLIA2, and all had been directed to undergo compulsory home quarantine.

Between June 10 and yesterday, a total of 22,480 people returned from overseas via KLIA, with 22,402 having been ordered to undergo home quarantine and 78 taken to hospital, he said.

Prior to June 10 at the height of the Covid-19 outbreak in the country, returnees had to be quarantined for 14 days at government-designated centres.

Ismail Sabri said today’s meeting had agreed in principle that health tourists from green category countries like Brunei, Singapore, South Korea, Japan, Australia and New Zealand can enter Malaysia on commercial flights to seek treatment.

“Those involved should take Covid-19 tests before departure (from their home countries), and in terms of SOP, it is the same as those arriving on chartered flights; and on arrival at KLIA, they will be fetched at the door of the aircraft and taken straight to hospital,” he said.

However, this matter is subject to discussions between the Malaysian Foreign Ministry and the countries concerned regarding permission for cross-border travel in their respective countries, he said. – Bernama