Malaysia to open special lanes for China travellers
PUTRAJAYA – Malaysia’s Immigration Department will provide special lanes for travellers from China at international entry points, amid concerns of the rapid outbreak of Covid-19 in the country.
Those who are symptomatic will be referred to health officials, and undergo throat swabs as well as RTK-Antigen Covid-19 tests, said the Health Ministry in a briefing in Putrajaya on Tuesday
All travellers entering Malaysia will be screened through a thermal scanner. Those who are found to be ill or symptomatic, or made self-declarations or self-referrals, will undergo further examination.
“Right now, we’re worried not just about the cases from China, but other countries that are experiencing a rise in cases, such as the United States, Japan, and others,” said Health Director-General Noor Hisham Abdullah. “We are monitoring the situation closely.”
The ministry’s deputy director-general (public health), Datuk Dr Norhayati Rusli, said: “Covid-19 positive travellers in categories one and two would be given the option to isolate themselves at home or their lodging residences.
“Those in categories three, four and five will meanwhile be referred for further treatment in either public or private hospitals,” she said.
She added that flight attendants and ground staff would also assist Health Ministry officials in monitoring whether incoming travellers exhibited Covid-19 symptoms.
She noted how there were 4.096 incoming travellers from China since their borders reopened on Jan 8, with no positive cases recorded yet.
“We will continue to monitor the situation diligently,” she said.
The number of new reported Covid-19 cases in Malaysia has been on the decline while patients requiring hospitalisation dropped 2 per cent last week, compared with the previous week.
Last month, Health Minister Zaliha Mustafa said the country will test wastewater samples from all flights from China for Covid-19.
Pre-pandemic, China was the third-largest country in terms of tourist arrivals in Malaysia. About 3.1 million Chinese tourists visited Malaysia in 2019, from the overall 26.1 million arrivals, according to data from Tourism Malaysia. BLOOMBERG, THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK