Health DG Dr Noor Hisham has also stressed that while travellers are appealing for exemption/shorter quarantine periods, the Health Ministry remains serious in preventing imports of COVID-19 variants from abroad.
In efforts to reduce the risk of imported COVID-19 variants, Malaysia's Government has tightened the standard operating procedure (SOP) for the Extension of Surveillance and Observation Order (quarantine) on Travellers arriving in Malaysia.
In a statement on Thursday (24 June), Director-General of Health Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said currently, more than 50% of countries have reported Variant of Concern (VOC) transmission of the virus in communities. Thus, the need for tighter restrictions.
The following will now apply for travellers entering Malaysia:
- All travellers must undergo a COVID-19 PCR test three days prior to the departure date and upon arrival into Malaysia;
- The mandatory quarantine period on Malaysian and non-Malaysian travellers granted permission to enter Malaysia from India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Pakistan has been extended to 21 days, at quarantine stations designated by the Government;
- Travellers from other countries, are required to undergo quarantine for 14 days at a quarantine centre designated by the Government. However, the 14-day quarantine period will be extended for another seven days (making it a total of 21 days), if there is a need, based on the risk assessment that has been conducted on the traveller on the 14th day. This additional quarantine will be carried out at the same quarantine centre;
- A repeat COVID-19 PCR test will be performed on the 10th day, if the traveller is in quarantine for a period of 14 days. If the repeat test result is found to be negative, they will be relieved on the 14th day. For travellers undergoing a 21-day quarantine, a repeat COVID-19 PCR test should be performed on the 18th day and if found negative, clearance will be given on the 21st day;
- Travellers must comply with other existing regulations upon arrival in Malaysia.
Dr Hisham said: "MOH would like to emphasise that the determination of the mandatory quarantine period is based on the risk assessment conducted from time to time. It is noted that the extension of this surveillance period is very important to ensure that the transmission of COVID-19 infection from abroad does not occur, especially those involving VOCs and Variants of Interest, where they are found to spread faster and cause a higher risk of death. In fact, this is also a practice carried out by most other countries."
He also noted that the Home Surveillance Order (HSO) Committee has received various appeals which are "generally related to applications for exemption and shortening of quarantine periods, by travellers returning from abroad for certain reasons."
He stressed: "The MOH understands the various personal situations they face, but at the same time the MOH needs to remain serious in the implementation of this quarantine policy to ensure that the risk of COVID-19 infection from abroad can be minimised. MOH would also like to inform that any application and appeal must go through a very strict evaluation process."
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