People entering Malaysia have to pay for quarantine: Minister

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Foreigners will have to pay $49 each day, citizens pay half that

PUTRAJAYA: Non-Malaysians entering the country from June 1, will have to pay RM150 (S$49) for each day they are in mandatory quarantine, said Senior Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

He said the decision was made at the National Security Council meeting, and added that Malaysian citizens, however, will pay only 50 per cent of the charge for the 14-day period.

"Non-citizens, including spouses and dependants who are of permanent resident status, will have to pay the charges in full, " he said yesterday.

Mr Ismail Sabri said the National Security Council also decided that those who want to return to Malaysia will have to sign a letter of undertaking agreeing to bear the quarantine costs.

"The signing of the letter can be done at Malaysian Embassies and High Commissions. After the agreement is signed, the office will also issue a letter permitting them to return to Malaysia.

"The Immigration Department will also be issuing a directive to all airline companies to make it a condition for passengers disembarking in Malaysia to have the letter," he said.

The government had enforced compulsory quarantine for all Malaysians returning from abroad beginning April 3.

To date, 38,371 Malaysians who returned from overseas were quarantined and 30,200 individuals completed the process and were allowed to go home.

Last Thursday, Mr Ismail Sabri said some spouses and family members of Malaysian citizens had refused to pay for the quarantine costs when the government had clearly stated it would bear the cost only for returning Malaysians.

Malaysia reported 31 new coronavirus cases yesterday, taking its total to 7,009 infections. No new deaths were recorded, leaving the total number of fatalities at 114.

In the rest of South-east Asia, Thailand said yesterday it expects to have a vaccine ready next year, after finding positive trial results in mice.

Thailand will begin testing the mRNA (messenger RNA) vaccine on monkeys next week after successful trials in mice, said Mr Taweesin Wisanuyothin, spokesman for the government's Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration.

The vaccine is being developed by the National Vaccine Institute, the Department of Medical Science and Chulalongkorn University's vaccine research centre.

Thailand was ranked fifth globally, just ahead of South Korea, for rapid response to and mitigation of the spread of an epidemic in the Johns Hopkins Global Health Security Index report last year.

It confirmed one new coronavirus case, bringing total cases to 3,034. Its death toll remains at 56.

Indonesia reported 693 new coronavirus infections yesterday, its biggest daily rise, taking its total number to 19,189. There were 21 deaths, taking the total to 1,242.

The Philippines recorded 279 new cases, the highest daily increase in nine days, and five additional deaths. It said deaths had reached 842, while infections have risen to 13,221. - THE STAR, REUTERS