4 April 2020
Some 40,000 people can be accommodated at all 409 gazetted COVID-19 quarantine centres across the country, in the event that all places need to operate at the same time, said Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
Up to yesterday, only 90 of the centres were in operation since March 19, housing over 4,000 people.
“They (centres) are more than sufficient, with over 4,000 recently quarantined. There are many more vacancies,” he said at a press conference here today after a meeting of the Special Ministerial Committee on the Movement Control Order.
Ismail Sabri who is also the Defence Minister said yesterday alone, as many as 1,188 Malaysians were quarantined across the country, with 711 of them having arrived at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA).
As of yesterday, all Malaysians returning from overseas are required to be quarantined for a 14-day period at designated centres established by the government.
While Ismail Sabri had announced yesterday that Sabah and Sarawak residents returning from overseas would be quarantined in their respective states in accordance with policies established by the state governments, the minister today clarified that these residents who need to undergo a prolonged transit at KLIA, will first be placed at quarantine centres near the airport.
“They might not yet have air tickets to travel back to Sabah and Sarawak or their flights might only be scheduled three to four days after their arrival at KLIA.
“They will definitely need to exit the airport, and therefore, they will also be quarantined at the centres in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor or nearby,” he said.
In this connection, Ismail Sabri expressed his appreciation for the assistance extended by all parties including telecommunications company Celcom Axiata Bhd to the government in combating COVID-19. Celcom Axiata has provided free prepaid mobile SIM cards to all individuals under quarantine.
“This covers 1GB data for Internet usage and WhatsApp and Skype calls, as well as 10GB for Facebook and Instagram. This will enable them to communicate with their families throughout their 14-day quarantine,” he said.
The minister added that Astro and Unifi TV in turn had provided free access for news and entertainment programmes throughout the implementation of the Movement Control Order (MCO) imposed by the government to contain COVID.