MMA Moots Quarantine Centres For Sabah Arrivals As ‘Safer Option’

Several lawmakers across the political divide have resumed their daily lives when they tested negative for Covid-19, a few days after returning from Sabah following the Sept 26 state election.

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 29 — The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) today suggested mandatory quarantine at designated centres for people arriving from Sabah, who are currently required to self-quarantine at home.

The doctors’ group said in some cases where physical distancing and isolation is not possible in a home setting, the government should look into placing returnees from Sabah at quarantine centres.

“In fact, the quarantine centres would be the safer option,” MMA president Dr Subramaniam Muniandy said in a statement, referring to earlier cases of returnees flouting the home quarantine.

The infamous Sivagangga cluster that originated in Kedah — which had reported 45 Covid-19 cases before it ended earlier this month — involved a man who had tested negative for coronavirus at the airport on July 13 upon returning from India. However, he broke his 14-day home quarantine order and tested positive 15 days later on July 28 on a repeat test.

Unlike cases imported from abroad — who are subjected to mandatory 14-day quarantine upon arrival in Malaysia — people returning to other parts of the country from Sabah were only tested upon arrival from September 27 and will be released from home quarantine pending their test results that usually take a few days.

Several lawmakers across the political divide have resumed their daily lives when they tested negative for Covid-19 a few days after returning from Sabah, following the September 26 state election, such as Negri Sembilan Mentri Besar Aminuddin Harun, who hosted a luncheon today after testing negative for coronavirus when he returned from Sabah, where he campaigned three days ago on September 26 in Matunggong, northern Sabah.

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin also attended a Penjana event yesterday in Bangi and a Shariah judiciary conference in Sepang this morning, just a few days after he campaigned last Friday in Tambunan and Tamparuli in Sabah.

Dr Subramaniam today urged employers of Sabahans living in the peninsula to only allow their staff to report to work if they are certified free of Covid-19.

“Employees must also be up front with their employers on their health status with proper documentation,” he said.

“These next two to three weeks will be important in controlling the spread of Covid-19 infections as a large number of travelers from Sabah will be returning to other states after the Sabah state elections held on Saturday, 26th September.”

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