KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 6 – A man caught with a pink Covid-19 quarantine wristband on board a Malaysia Airlines flight from Kuala Lumpur to Kuantan on January 2, 2022, was given the go-ahead by Ministry of Health (MOH) officials, the national carrier said.
Malaysia Airlines, in a statement, said the passenger wearing a “pink tag” on its flight, as claimed in a social media post, started his journey with the airline from Cambodia capital Phnom Penh via Flight MH755 on January 2, 2022, to Kuala Lumpur, with an onward connection to Kuantan, Pahang, via MH1276 on the same day.
“As per the MOH Guideline Annex 9 (Guidelines For The Entry Point Screening of Travellers), the passenger was cleared by MOH to continue his onward journey to Kuantan after being assessed by the Port of Entry Health and Quarantine Office.
“Malaysia Airlines wishes to reiterate its commitment to providing a safe and comfortable journey to passengers and crew guided by aviation health procedures placed by the MOH, the World Health Organization (WHO), International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and International Air Transport Association (IATA),” it said.
Malaysia Airlines did not explain why the passenger’s pink wristband remained on his person despite being cleared by health authorities for travel.
MOH usually issues the pink wristband to people ordered to undergo home surveillance — either individuals confirmed to be infected with Covid-19 or close contacts of positive cases.
According to the MOH Guideline Annex 9, under Section C point 2.3, travellers transiting from overseas at any points of entry (POE) in Malaysia are allowed to proceed to their domestic destination, except those who are symptomatic, positive cases, and close contact of Covid-19 cases. However, for Sabah, Sarawak, and the Federal Territory of Labuan, it depends solely on the current requirements by the respective state.
The guideline also states under the same chapter that health officials must ensure all travellers have a valid negative RT-PCR Covid-19 test result which is taken not more than 72 hours prior to departure and that passengers have a valid Covid-19 vaccination certificate.
A woman on board flight MH1276 from Kuala Lumpur to Kuantan posted on Facebook on January 5, three days after the flight, narrating how she identified a passenger with a pink tag on the flight, just a few seats away on the same row from where she sat.
The woman said she informed a flight attendant who had then alerted another colleague, before another male flight attendant spoke with the passenger with the pink tag.
According to her account, all remaining passengers were not notified of the incident and were allowed to disembark without any information or instructions nor further plans. The passenger with the pink tag remained on board at the time she disembarked.
Upon contacting customer service and filing a report within the course of the next 48 hours, she said Malaysia Airlines has not effectively addressed the issue.