Dr Noor Hisham: Health Ministry mulling screening of transit passengers at KLIA

A Malaysian health quarantine officer waits for passengers at a thermal screening point at KLIA March 10, 2020. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
A Malaysian health quarantine officer waits for passengers at a thermal screening point at KLIA March 10, 2020. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

PUTRAJAYA, July 27 — The Health Ministry is looking into possible Covid-19 screening for airline passengers who use Malaysia or KLIA as a transit point to head to other countries.

Its director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said this remains an issue of concern since the number of infection cases is on the rise among neighbouring countries and elsewhere.

“We have an understanding with parties such as the Cambodian government, where if Covid-19 positive cases are detected from those flying in from Malaysia, they will contact us for further clarification,” he said during the tri-weekly press conference at the ministry’s complex here.

Dr Noor Hisham was responding to reports of the Cambodian government temporarily banning all flights from Malaysia and Indonesia to curb the spread of Covid-19, which comes into effect on August 1.

It is understood that out of 108 passengers who recently tested positive for Covid-19 after arriving in Cambodia using Malaysia and Indonesia as a transit point, 55 of them used Malaysia.

“The 55 cases, although confirmed to be positive, do not involve Malaysian citizens as they were individuals coming from countries such as Saudi Arabia and Russia,” he clarified.

Meanwhile, Dr Noor Hisham said that an estimated 1,742 people have defied the home surveillance order and have not gone for the required screening on the 13th day of their mandatory quarantine.

“The police have been informed of these individuals, with the ministry providing their names, addresses, and contact details. Those who have not yet undergone the screening must do so since failure can result in prosecution in court,” he said.

Dr Noor Hisham was also asked about the possibility of a third wave of infection occurring, which he did not discount if the public continues to be complacent in observing standard operating procedures (SOP)

“Preventing new cases is more important now than ever before. We have seen an increase of 120 cases from July 19 to July 25 as well as its related new clusters, which are akin to burning embers.

“Should the public remain careless and fail to properly observe social distancing, wearing face masks, and practicing the SOPs, then the embers will fan into an open flame which will flare up and spread like wildfire,” he said.

Dr Noor Hisham again urged the public to use face masks when in public, as the ministry has gathered data indicating that its usage can break the Covid-19 transmission chain by up to 60 per cent.

“This is especially the case when using public transport, where social distancing may not be possible or when you must go out in public but cannot avoid crowded places.

“The ministry is also looking into ways for providing face masks for the needy like the B40 category,” he said. 


 

Related Articles