KUALA LUMPUR, Mar 8 — Individuals who travel overseas in between their first and second Covid-19 vaccine doses will still be subjected to mandatory quarantine upon their return, the government said today.
“If they have not completed their two doses, they still have to go through quarantine requirements when coming back,” said Minister of Science, Technology, and Innovation Khairy Jamaluddin during a virtual press conference held over Zoom earlier this afternoon.
Also present during the session was Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba who elaborated by saying proper guidelines for travellers who have received the complete two doses of vaccines are still being drafted by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
“We are still receiving guidelines from the WHO on when is the right time to exempt quarantine periods for those who have received two doses of the vaccines.
“But at this stage, we are still following the existing methods already set in place to handle the pandemic,” he said.
Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin was among those who have been allowed to travel overseas in between vaccine doses, and should be subject to mandatory quarantine upon his return from an ongoing official visit to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
When asked later about a possible policy that would compel all Haj pilgrims to be vaccinated before being allowed into Saudi Arabia, Dr Adham said further confirmation would be needed before deciding on the topic.
“We are still waiting for the Haj quota, where they (Saudi) would also announce if the Haj can even be performed this year,” he said, adding government-to-government discussions are being conducted to iron out such details.
The minister explained that usually between 30,000 and 50,000 pilgrims would look to perform the Haj, and said existing facilities of the Health Ministry would be able to handle such vaccination exercises if indeed it becomes a requirement to be inoculated before performing the pilgrimage.
“We have two candidates, the Sinovac and Pfizer-Biontech vaccines, and maybe AstraZeneca if it arrives earlier because those looking to perform the Haj would travel to Mecca only by mid-June.
“So if there is a need (to be vaccinated) before that, we will implement it, and if it requires two doses, maybe we can begin in May with the exercise,” he added.