Travellers arriving from Sabah to undergo testing, quarantine

Travellers arriving from Sabah to undergo testing, quarantine
COVID-19 | Beginning tomorrow until Oct 10, all travellers arriving from Sabah will be required to undergo Covid-19 testing upon arrival at their destination airports and entryways.

In addition, they will be required to undergo quarantine at home, albeit only until test results are ready instead of the typical 14-day period.

Health Ministry director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the move was necessitated by the surge in Covid-19 cases that are linked with travel history to Sabah, which has experienced a wave of new cases since the beginning of the month.

Between Sept 20 and Sept 25, he said there had been 10 cases involving travellers returning from Sabah.

Today, there were another 11 new cases in Peninsular Malaysia amongst travellers returning from the state.

“The increase in Covid-19 cases and clusters in Sabah is still ongoing and four districts have been identified as red zones after recording more than 40 cases in the last 14 days.

“Taking account of the situation, there is a need to implement Covid-19 prevention and control measures on individuals with travel history in Sabah to monitor the risk of transmission from these individuals,” Noor Hisham said in a statement today, adding that compliance with the new measures was mandatory.

No fee will be incurred for the mandatory testing, including for non-citizens.

Though the period for mandatory testing and quarantine will end after Oct 10, Noor Hisham said this is subject to review from time to time, based on the latest risk assessments.

Explaining the procedures, Noor Hisham said travellers must use the MySejahtera app to check-in upon arriving from Sabah to a domestic or international entryway.

They will then undergo screening for symptoms of respiratory infection and Covid-19 testing, and will be issued a home surveillance order (HSO) as well as a quarantine wristband.

“The date of the HSO begins from the date of arrival at the entryway until when the laboratory result has been obtained. The HSO release will be issued if the laboratory test result shows negative for Covid-19.

“If there are individuals continuing the journey home by public transport such as taxi or Grab, a permission letter for a specified address will be issued for that day.

“If there are symptoms of respiratory infection in the 14 days after the date or return, the individual concerned must undergo repeat testing for Covid-19,” he said.

For comparison, travellers returning from abroad are required to serve their 14-day quarantine at designated quarantine stations, while close contacts of Covid-19 patients would be quarantined for the same period at home.

Travellers returning from abroad will also be required to pay a fee for the test and quarantine.

They will also be tested twice during the quarantine period – a reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test at the start of the quarantine, and an antibody rapid test (RTK-Ab) on the 13th day of the quarantine.

If they test positive for the RT-PCR test or develop symptoms during the quarantine period, they will be admitted to the hospital. 

If they test positive for the RTK-Ab test, a follow-up test using RT-PCR will be conducted to confirm the diagnosis.

If the person under surveillance tests negative on the RTK-Ab test, they will be released from quarantine at the end of the 14-day period. 

Keep up with the latest information on the outbreak in the country with Malaysiakini‘s free Covid-19 tracker.

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