Malaysia mulls Covid-19 screening for airport transit passengers

PUTRAJAYA, 27 July 2020:

The Ministry of Health (MoH) will discuss with airlines on implementing Covid-19 screening tests for passengers transiting in Malaysia before going to their respective destinations.

Health director-general, Datuk Noor Hisham Abdullah said the cost of the screening must be borne by the passengers themselves.

‘’This need not only involves MoH but also the airlines. For example, it should be the policy of the airlines to ensure the passengers undergo Covid-19 screening before boarding the aircraft.

‘’We can prevent positive cases among those taking flights if we implement it. We have to discuss with the airlines to see how we can implement it. But the tests must be borne by the passengers, not the Malaysian government.’’

He was responding at a media conference today when asked on the temporary ban by the Cambodian government on all flights from Malaysia and Indonesia to curb the spread of Covid-19 effective Aug 1.

According to a report by news portal The Cambodian Daily, the action had to be taken by the country’s health ministry after an increase in the number of imported cases again in recent weeks – especially from these two countries.

Dr Noor Hisham explained that all 55 positive cases involving Cambodian transit passengers did not get infected when transiting in Malaysia.

In the meantime, he said MoH would scrutinise the public health action method to control the spread of the Covid-19 cluster in Sarawak other than boosting the capacity of laboratories.

‘’If we notice, to date, all our actions are public health actions. We must also learn from past experiences when facing the threats of MERS-CoV and SARS.

‘’Public health intervention is capable of severing the SARS, MERS-CoV and H1N1 infection chains. We also did not have vaccine against all that but (we succeeded) due to public health intervention.’’

To date, Sarawak had recorded the highest number of Covid-19 cases in the 30th epidemiological week this year (July 19 to July 25) – with 48 cases.

The state also recorded nine active clusters – Sentosa, Stutong, Mambong, Kejuruteraan Kuching, Jupiter, Pusat Perubatan Kuching, Jeti Kuching, Syarikat Pembinaan Kuching and PUI Melbourne.

– Bernama