Thursday, January 27

No need for EnterSarawak for fully vaccinated domestic travellers, says SDMC


Travellers are seen at Kuching International Airport. — Photo by Roystein Emmor

KUCHING (Oct 16): Fully vaccinated individuals from other states wishing to enter Sarawak no longer need to undergo Covid-19 screening or apply through EnterSarawak in a new decision made by the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC).

In its daily Covid-19 update today, the committee said that the individuals will need to fill the e-Health Declaration Form (eHDF).

“They must have proof of ‘Complete Vaccination’ status and must have ‘Low Risk’ or ‘Asymptomatic Casual Contact’ status only in the MySejahtera app.

“MySejahtera inspection will be made before individuals are allowed to board passenger planes/boats or at Immigration, Customs, Quarantine and Security (ICQS),” it said.

As for individuals who are not yet vaccinated or have not completed their vaccination but wish to enter Sarawak, SDMC said it is mandatory for them to apply through EnterSarawak, fill the e-HDF and get screened.

“They must do mandatory screening either with rt-PCR or RTK Antigen (swab) test within three days before entering Sarawak. Self-test kit results will not be accepted.

“They must have ‘Low Risk’ or ‘Asymptomatic Casual Contact’ status only
in the MySejahtera application,” it said.

SDMC added that MySejahtera and EnterSarawak inspections will be made before individuals are allowed to board a passenger plane or boat or at ICQS.

“They will have to undergo quarantine at home or at quarantine station for 10 days, subject to risk assessment by a Health Officer,” it said.

Children under the age of 12 must undergo Covid-19 screening if entering Sarawak with parents or guardians who have no or incomplete vaccination.

SDMC also laid out the rules for travellers entering the state from abroad, with those who have complete vaccination allowed to transit in Sarawak within 24 hours.

In addition to mandatory filling of e-HDF, they must also perform rt-PCR test screening within three days before entering Malaysia, the committee said.

“Their quarantine period is seven days from the date of entry into Malaysia for
complete travelers are vaccinated, while the quarantine period for travelers who do not have vaccination or have incomplete vaccination will be 10 days from the date of entry into Malaysia.

“The quarantine place is at the designated quarantine station. Travelers from abroad must report their travel history to officers at the airport. Failure to do so may be subject to action of the law,” it said.

These decisions will take effect from October 18.

SDMC further explained that the decisions made are in line with the wish of the state government to facilitate entry into Sarawak, adding that the purpose of the screening policy was to reduce the risk of transmission in aircrafts.

“At the same time, we do not want to increase the risk of transmission in the community as it will burden Sarawak’s health facilities.

“With the abolition of screening for those who have completed vaccination before entering to Sarawak, SDMC hopes that all individuals play a role in protecting themselves and their respective families,” it said.

SDMC said that it is aware that 77.3 per cent of new cases reported daily in Sarawak in October are adults who have completed vaccination while 64.5 per cent of deaths reported in October were also fully vaccinated individuals.

“This means that even if vaccination is effective in reducing risk of Covid-19 infection as well as death from Covid-19, infection can still occur and
the risk of death remains, especially for the elderly, those who are not eligible to receive vaccines as well as those with comorbidities.

“With the restrictions loosened, the risk of spread in the community may increase. As such, we strongly encourage all individuals to undergo self-screening before entering Sarawak, although it is not a mandatory requirement for those who are fully vaccinated,” it said.

SDMC advised those who develop symptoms when they are in Sarawak to undergo screening through self-test kit or at the nearest health facility.

It also called on all individuals in Sarawak to always abide by the existing Standard Operating Procedures (SOP).

“Be a responsible citizen to protect your parents, siblings, relatives and
your friends in Sarawak,” it said.

Earlier this week, Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah had questioned the State Disaster Management Committee’s (SDMC) need for those traveling to the state to still apply for permission via EnterSarawak.

He said it should suffice for visitors to show proof they are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and any other restrictions would serve as a hindrance to tourism.

He had lamented that the restrictions imposed by the Sarawak government would not augur well for the tourism industry, which has been badly hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Nobody would want to come to Sarawak if you keep on imposing (entry) conditions,” he was quoted as saying.