Health DG Says Free Covid-19 Tests, Treatment For Foreigners, After PM Says Payments Required

By CodeBlue | 23 March 2020

Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah says fees will not be imposed on any foreign national for coronavirus cases, after PM Muhyiddin Yassin said foreigners would be charged at government hospitals.

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KUALA LUMPUR, March 23 — Foreigners will not be charged medical fees at government facilities for coronavirus cases, a top Ministry of Health (MOH) official said today, countering the prime minister’s statement that they were subject to payments.

Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah cited a January 29 MOH circular that fees would not be imposed on foreign nationals in Covid-19 cases.

“If foreigners come to MOH clinics or hospitals, for non-Covid patients, they will be charged a set fee. But for Covid, as per our circular on January 29, fees will not be imposed, whether on poor or rich foreigners,” Dr Noor Hisham told a press conference today.

Just hours earlier, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin told reporters that migrant workers should come forward to get tested for coronavirus, but also said they must pay for testing or treatment at public hospitals.

“Even if they go to hospital, some of the costs are borne by the government for citizens only. If they’re foreign, then they must pay. But they have to do that to ensure they’re not infected,” he told a press conference this afternoon.

CodeBlue previously reported that according to an MOH circular last January 29, under the then-Pakatan Harapan administration, foreign nationals infected with Covid-19 or who are close contacts of coronavirus patients were exempted from outpatient fees at government facilities. They do not have to pay registration, examination, treatment, or hospitalisation fees.

Foreigners who walk in for Covid-19 tests but who do not show any symptoms, however, will be charged an RM40 outpatient fee and other related charges.

Malaysia registered 1.76 million migrant workers as at July 2018, but there are an estimated 4.4 million migrant workers in the country, including undocumented ones.

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