Students Must Home Quarantine, Interstate Travel Still Banned: MOH

Health DG Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah urges Malaysians not to do Hari Raya visits this year.

KUALA LUMPUR, May 18 — The Ministry of Health (MOH) reiterated today that interstate travel is still prohibited during the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) and students sent home must be quarantined.

MOH urged all students to adhere to quarantine requirements upon returning home, as reports of non-adherence to mandatory home quarantine measures surfaced after some students of a higher learning institution breached compulsory quarantine measures and subsequently tested positive for coronavirus.

“This could create risk for those who are at high-risk for Covid-19 infection, including children, the elderly, and those with chronic conditions,” said Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah at a press conference today.

He added that students who travelled across states within peninsular Malaysia are required to undergo mandatory home quarantine for 14 days upon arrival at home, while students who returned to Sabah and Sarawak would have to undergo Covid-19 screening, and mandatory home quarantine must be carried out upon a negative test result.

The Ministry of Higher Education reportedly sent 49,019 students who had been stuck on campus back home to their families between April 27 and May 17.

As for citizens who returned from overseas, including students and workers, MOH has procedures in place to ensure that these returnees are put in quarantine centres, and any positive cases would be isolated.

“We will make sure to quarantine them and swab them at least twice, on day one and day 13. I think this is a very good initiative from the government. We make sure that we can quarantine them and isolate cases,” said Dr Noor Hisham.

When asked about patients who recovered from Covid-19, Dr Noor Hisham added that these patients would have to undergo a 14-day home quarantine after discharge before they can freely interact with their families at home, and MOH’s standard operating procedures (SOP) would have to be followed, such as proper hand washing and safe distancing.

The MOH continued to see a trend in declining Covid-19 cases in the country after four phases of movement restrictions were implemented over a period of two months. The nation is currently in the second phase of CMCO, which began on May 13 and is set to end on June 9.

MOH believes that this achievement is a result of public adherence to the SOP established under the Movement Control Order (MCO) and CMCO implementation.

“Naturally, this adherence should continue especially during the upcoming festive season.

“For this Hari Raya, we will look at how to celebrate Hari Raya without visitation. If possible, don’t visit others. Just this year, don’t visit.

“Because Covid-19 is still in the community, exposure to the virus can be brought home and then spread to family members,” said the Health director-general.

Dr Noor Hisham then expressed his concern for those who are at higher risk for Covid-19 infection, referring to the worrisome report of as many as 2,931 vehicles with people trying to travel across states to return to their hometowns within the last three days, in hopes to celebrate the upcoming Hari Raya festivity with their families.

“As of May 18, out of the total number of 6,941 Covid-19 positive cases in Malaysia, 961 were aged 60 and older at 13.8 per cent. On the other hand, children aged 12 years and under total to 318 at 4.6 per cent.

“From a comorbidity factor point of view, as of May 17, 10.8 percent or 744 cases of all Covid-19 positive cases had chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease, heart disease and other diseases.

“These high-risk groups need to be protected. Protect the borders of our country, state, region, home and our family,” said Dr Noor Hisham.

He further explained that the daily number of positive Covid-19 cases have continued to stay in the double digits since the start of May.

“Although we have loosened CMCO, SOP should be strictly followed. At this point, we hope that in two weeks when we observe the result from CMCO, we can manage to stay within the two digits.

“Whether the Raya celebration will increase the cases, we don’t know, but we will watch and monitor,” said Dr Noor Hisham.

MOH today reported 47 new Covid-19 cases. Twenty-one cases were imported, which means that 26 were local transmissions. The total cases of Covid-19 in Malaysia as of today is 6,491. No death was reported today, and the Covid-19 death toll in the country remains at 113.

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