Dr Noor Hisham: Health Ministry may consider shorter quarantine for international travellers

Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah speaks during a press conference in Putrajaya December 2, 2020. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah speaks during a press conference in Putrajaya December 2, 2020. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

PUTRAJAYA, Dec 4 — The authorities are currently reviewing available data to determine if there is a need to change Malaysia’s policy in allowing foreigners and international flyers to come into the country during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Health Director-General Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the review will also include evaluating if the mandatory 14-day quarantine for new entrants can be shortened.

“Some countries implement quarantine for foreigners coming into their respective nations for seven to ten days. However, for us to do so, we need to substantiate it with data,” he said during a press conference this evening.

The current quarantine practice also involves conducting tests on the first day and the 13th day, to determine if the virus is present or otherwise.

“So far it has worked well, but we have to take many factors into consideration. Hence why we are reviewing the current data at hand.

“It may be possible to shorten the quarantine period from 14 days to 12, or even 10 days. But there are risks involved should we choose to do so,” Dr Noor Hisham said.

The director-general cited an example in which the risk increases to five per cent if the 14-day quarantine is shortened to ten days.

“So it is an issue of managing the risks, hence why it is important for us to thoroughly review the data before managing any of our policies, yet alone changing them,” he said.

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