KUALA LUMPUR, June 24 — The government has tightened standard operating procedures (SOP) for those travelling into the country in order to reduce the risk of importing Covid-19 variants.

In a statement, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said more than 50 per cent of the country has reported the spread of Variant of Concerns’ (VoC) in the community.

“Among the updated SOPs all travellers must undergo PCR Covid-19 testing three days before their departure date and upon arrival into the country,” said Dr Noor Hisham.

Dr Noor Hisham said that the mandatory quarantine period for both Malaysians and non-citizens coming in from India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan are now extended to 21 days.

He added that those entering Malaysia from other countries are required to undergo a 14-day quarantine in quarantine centres gazetted by the government.

“However, the 14-day quarantine period will be extended for another seven days (making the total quarantine total 21 days), should there be a requirement based on the risk assessment carried out on the traveler on the 14th day.

“This additional quarantine will be implemented in the same quarantine centre,” he said.

Dr Noor Hisham said the Covid-19 PCR tests will be repeated on the 10th day of quarantine for those undergoing 14-day quarantine, and if repeat results are found to be negative, they will be released on the 14th day.

“Meanwhile, for travellers undergoing a quarantine period of 21 days, Covid-19 PCR repeat tests should be performed on the 18th day and if found negative, they will be released on the 21st day,” he said.

Dr Noor Hisham also shared that six new Covid-19 cases involving VOCs were confirmed in the country between June 20 and June 22, with five of them involving the Beta variant and one involving the Delta variant.

“This brings the total number of Covid-19 cases involving VOC or VOI to 189.

“From the 189, 173 are related to VOC, while 16 are related to VOI,” he said.