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Covid-19: Still no entry to foreign tourists to prevent imported cases: Ismail Sabri

PUTRAJAYA (May 2): The government will continue to protect the country’s borders to prevent foreign tourists from entering following the implementation of the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO), said Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

He said this was to prevent a new wave of Covid-19 imported cases from occurring, like what happened in Hokkaido, Japan.

“In Hokkaido, they (Japan) opened up their country and allowed entrance to foreign tourists. It was the sakura flower festival then and imported cases occurred. But we will still close our entry points (to foreign tourists), so this is one of our preparatory measures,” he said at a press conference on the MCO here today.

Ismail Sabri also said that Malaysians returning to the country would still be required to undergo mandatory quarantine to curb the spread of the virus.

There was concern among the public when the government decided to implement the CMCO from May 4.

On social media, netizens began sharing and comparing cases, like what happened in Hokkaido.

The island in the north of Japan was hit by a second wave of Covid-19 infections and recorded 135 cases in one week after it ended its three-week lockdown when the number of positive cases dropped to single digit.

He said the approach of carrying out targeted case detections and screenings in specified locations would also continue to be practised to curb the spread of the virus.

Meanwhile, Ismail Sabri said the government was also prepared, in terms of health facilities, if there were still infection cases throughout the CMCO period.

“We can see that the number of cases in hospitals are reducing, so we are prepared in terms of beds, intensive care unit (ICU), ventilators and so on.

“In terms of testing, there wasn’t much at first, but now we can meet our target, which is more than 16,000 test a day,” he said. 

Commenting on inter-state movement via domestic flights, Ismail Sabri said this was only allowed if they had obtained permission from the police.

He said the same standard operating procedures (SOP) remained, which means social distancing must still be practised.

“We have decided that flights can operate based on the SOP that they only carry half the actual number of passengers. If there are 100 passengers, only 50 will be allowed on board.

“It’s the same for buses. Two seats for one passenger. Flights have not been grounded and passengers must get permission from the police,” he said.

Meanwhile, commenting on house renovations, he said homeowners will be allowed to do so provided they’ve got permission from local authorities.

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