Health Ministry moots tightening Malaysia’s borders amid global Covid-19 spike

Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the countries that need to be looked at are not those with high infections, but the ones that had managed to curb the spread only to undergo a spike in the coronavirus infections months later. — Picture by Choo Choy May
Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the countries that need to be looked at are not those with high infections, but the ones that had managed to curb the spread only to undergo a spike in the coronavirus infections months later. — Picture by Choo Choy May

PUTRAJAYA, Aug 25 — The Ministry of Health (MOH) is hoping the government will tighten entry into Malaysia amid a rise in Covid-19 cases worldwide, which has also seen an increase in imported cases locally.

Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the countries that need to be looked at are not those with high infections, but the ones that had managed to curb the spread only to undergo a spike in the coronavirus infections months later.

“We are still in the recovery movement control order, so we do not encourage travel as there are 188 countries infected.

“We hope we can tighten our borders inbound and outbound. Our fear though is looking at countries that once upon a time were the gold standard like Korea, etc.

“If they are having challenges, we need to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. So we need not ease our borders, but tighten them further,” he said in a press conference here on the Covid-19 situation in Malaysia.

Dr Noor Hisham pointed out that South Korea, which was deemed to be among the countries to have better control of Covid-19, recently reported 2,600 cases in 10 days.

He indicated that similar surges had happened in Hong Kong, Australia, Japan and New Zealand, adding that it was on this basis that the ministry does not recommend easing up on travel.

“We’re looking into how we can control the illegal entrants into the country with the Immigration Department and armed forces.

“It’s a very important step we need to take and hopefully can control the infections coming into the country,” Dr Noor Hisham added.

New Zealand, among the earliest countries reported to be free of Covid-19 in early June, saw four new infections within one family in mid-August.

In Australia, a state of disaster has been reportedly declared in the state of Victoria with lockdown reimposed due to the Covid-19 surge.

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