PUTRAJAYA, 21 Feb 2020:
There is still no plan to bar the entry of Chinese tourists following the Covid-19 outbreak in China, but health screening at all entry points in Malaysia will continue to be tightened for all travellers returning or arriving from the republic, Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said.
In fact, she said the government also has no plan to bar the entry of Singaporeans despite the fact there were sporadic cases and human-to-human transmission of the virus reported in the island city-state.
“Taking that into account, we have tightened the screening at entry and exit points at both the Johor Causeway and the Senai International Airport.”
Dr Wan Azizah, who is also National Disaster Management Agency (NADMA) chairman, said the matter was agreed to at the special High-Level Committee meeting on Covid-19 meeting which she chaired earlier today.
She said the Ministry of Health will also discuss suitable monitoring and screening methods at the Malaysia-Singapore border at the Bilateral Joint-Working Group Committee forum with the Singapore government on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Dr Wan Azizah said all returning Chinese students must undergo mandatory health screening before resuming their studies – except those who have been in Malaysia for more than 14 days.
So far, she said all Chinese students had been screened according to the standard operating procedures set by the education and health ministries and were tested negative for Covid-19.
“The students have to undergo health screening and if they were considered asymptomatic, they will be placed under home surveillance. If they were showing symptoms (after that), then there is a hotline for them to contact.”
There are currently 11,000 Chinese students in the country.
Dr Wan Azizah said the Education Ministry had also set up a Covid-19 Cluster Management Committee operating in the Education Malaysia Division (BEM) of the Higher Education Department.
The deputy prime minister said all 20 public universities and 17 private higher education institutions nationwide, including the Xiamen University Malaysia which has a large number of students from China, had also developed their own standard operating procedures to curb the spread of Covid-19.
For Malaysian students in China, she said the Education Malaysia Beijing, in collaboration with the Malaysian students’ associations in the country, had developed the Covid-19 Overseas Students Management Dashboard to help monitor the whereabouts of Malaysian students in the republic.
In the meantime, Dr Wan Azizah said the screening process of Malaysians or any individual returning from China would also be tightened through the screening of body temperature and swab tests.
“The swab test results can be obtained within five hours. If the result is negative, they will be allowed to undergo home surveillance or self-quarantine. If positive, they will be taken to the hospital immediately.”