14 May 2021
The Health Ministry will conduct an immediate risk assessment on the need to extend the quarantine period from 14 to 21 days on all travellers, such as Malaysians, arriving from India in view of the emergence of the new Covid-19 B.1.617 Indian variant.
Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said this was to deter the possible spread of the new variant.
“This variant reportedly has higher rates of transmission and poses more severe symptoms among those aged under 50.
“Malaysians are advised to cooperate in stopping the transmission of the new variant.
“To avert potential transmission, the current entry ban by the government on foreigners flying into Malaysia from India is still being enforced,” he said in a statement tonight.
The ministry, he said, had decided to prolong the quarantine period from 14 to 21 days for Malaysians, their families and spouses, as well as those onboard a repatriation flight which arrived here from India on May 12 and May 13 respectively.
He said they were part of the government’s Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) mission.
“This was after seven out of 132 passengers, who arrived from India at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) on May 12, were confirmed Covid-19 positive with a positivity rate of 5.3 per cent in the test results obtained the next day (May 13).
“The mission only carried passengers whose Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) results were negative. Upon arrival at KLIA, they were brought through a special lane to the KLIA Air Disaster Unit for a health screening.
“Although no passengers displayed any Covid-19 symptoms, they were subjected to the RT-PCR Test.
“They are now required to serve the mandatory quarantine at stations designated by the government. They also need to undergo RT-PCR test for Covid-19 detection in accordance with the Standard Operating Procedures,” he said, noting that India has recorded over 300,000 Covid-19 infections since April this year and the highest worldwide currently.
Dr Noor Hisham said the Malindo Air flight, which left India on May 11 at 9.15am, arrived at KLIA the next day at 12.53am.
Onboard the aircraft were 132 passengers made up of 92 adults and 40 children of which 117 are Malaysians, eight Brunei nationals, four Danish nationals, two Indian nationals and an Indonesian.
A total of 20 staff were involved in the mission and they consisted of 14 flight crew members, four ministry personnel and one each from the National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma) and the Foreign Ministry (MFA), all of whom donned full Personal Protective Equipment throughout the journey.
Dr Noor Hisham said in view of the surge of Covid-19 cases in India, the government had agreed to repatriate Malaysians in the country, along with their family members and spouses in the HADR mission which involved 219 personnel.
The mission, he said, was coordinated by Nadma with the cooperation of various agencies including his ministry, MFA, Fire and Rescue Department, Airport Fire and Rescue Service, police, Aviation Security as well as companies such as Follow Me and UTW Electrical.