Stay Home, Test Results May Take Over Four Days, MOH Tells Sabah Returnees

MOH has increased Covid-19 surveillance at domestic and international airports.

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 10 — Individuals who return from Sabah are required to self-quarantine for 14 days until health officers call them about the results of their first Covid-19 test, according to Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

The Health director-general also said it might take more than four days for the test results to be informed to individuals and that the time frame for it is not determined.

“Those who returned from Sabah will be tested and given a wristband and will be issued a home surveillance order. They are advised to wait for the results.

“If they don’t get a call from the district health office or from the clinics, they have to stay at home for 14 days. If they get the results earlier, then we will be doing a health check up. If they possess any symptoms, they will continue the 14 days’ quarantine,” Dr Noor Hisham said in a press meet today.

Earlier, the federal MOH did not mandate 14-day quarantine for Sabah arrivals in the peninsula, choosing instead to release people from home quarantine once results from their RT-PCR test at airports turn out negative. RT-PCR test results usually come out in 24 to 48 hours.

“We are monitoring. There is an increase in the number of cases. So the expected test results may not be announced in three days, may not be four days, but may be more than that. However, they are required to remain under quarantine for 14 days compulsorily.”

Dr Noor Hisham also reminded the public not to contact the Ministry of Health (MOH) to get their test results and that individuals who got tested should wait for MOH to call them instead.

According to him, people who show symptoms should also undergo a compulsory 14-day quarantine, even if they tested negative for the coronavirus in their first test.

“If the test result is positive, then MOH will send an ambulance to admit them into hospital. If negative and if they are exposed to positive clusters they will also be quarantined for 14 days compulsorily. If negative, but when we examine them, and they show symptoms, they will remain under quarantine,” he added.

“If no symptoms, and negative, please wait for the call from MOH. Don’t call MOH. MOH will contact them.”

Astro Awani yesterday reported that a Melaka state assemblyman infected with Covid-19 had called up the Alor Gajah state health department on Tuesday to get his the results from his test at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport Monday, upon arrival from Sabah.

He claimed that the Alor Gajah district health office initially told him then that he had tested negative, before clarifying a day later — after he went to work at the state secretariat — that he had actually tested positive.

The Melaka state government said today it will take action against federal health officers if investigations find they had misinformed the state assemblyman that he was free of Covid-19 infection.

Dr Noor Hisham also mentioned today that MOH has increased Covid-19 surveillance at domestic and international airports in the country.

“Those who return from Sabah, we have taken measures to increase our surveillance. So far, we have conducted surveillance of influenza-like illness (ILI) in clinics, severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) in hospitals and pre-surgical screenings.

“But we have increased surveillance to conduct tests in international and domestic airports,” Dr Noor Hisham said.

He also urged people who returned from red zones in Sabah from September 20 to 26 to come forward for testing.

It is to be noted that, in just 10 days, the coronavirus spread from Sabah to all other states in Malaysia. Malaysia recorded the highest daily Covid-19 tally ever in the country today at 287 cases, whereby 20 cases involved returnees from Sabah.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) only mandated testing at airports for Sabah arrivals from September 27, a day after Sabahans went to the polls, even though health authorities already noticed Covid-19 cases with Sabah travel history popping up in other parts of the country since a week prior on September 20

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