PUTRAJAYA, May 2 — Malaysia will continue to keep its borders and entry points closed and quarantine returning Malaysians until it is decided otherwise, said Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
He said a distinction has to be drawn with examples elsewhere across the world, such as in Japan.
“When you look at Hokkaido, after opening up from their lockdown, they also permitted entry of foreign citizens. I believe it was due to the tourist period of sakura trees flowering,” Ismail Sabri said during his daily press conference.
As a result of the influx of foreigners into Hokkaido, the minister said Covid-19 import cases began to climb.
“The difference with us is that we still keep our borders closed to foreigners. Until today, our airports are not accepting international flights and our citizens who have returned from abroad are placed under a 14-day mandatory quarantine.
“Similarly, we are now taking an approach based on targeted areas, such as was seen in Kampung Sungai Lui in Hulu Langat, Selangor, where the tahfiz school was immediately locked down,” he said.
Imposing limited movement on specific areas, as opposed to an entire district, means the authorities are sufficiently able to handle the situation on ground.
“We are ready for any new Covid-19 wave that may arise, and will impose the extended movement control order on places with new cases,” Ismail said.
Hokkaido, situated in Japan's northern region, experienced an increase of 135 infections within a week, after ending its lockdown on March 19 when infection rates at the time had dropped to a single digit.
The prefectural government has since declared a state of emergency. Hokkaido Medical Association chairman Dr Kiyoshi Nagase was reported as expressing his regret at the early lifting of the lockdown.