Health DG: M'sia may only reopen borders if daily Covid-19 cases kept at single digits until Aug 31

PUTRAJAYA (June 10): Malaysia’s borders may only be reopened if daily confirmed Covid-19 cases are maintained at single digits until the end of the recovery movement control order (RMCO) on Aug 31, according to Ministry of Health (MoH) director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah. 

Noor Hisham said at this point, Malaysia is still strengthening its border control in order to curb the spread of Covid-19.

"The six cases that we have today are Malaysian returnees. So what is important now is to try our best to maintain [this number] over this period of time from June 10 to Aug 31. So if we can continue to have single-digit [daily cases], then that shows that we are ready to allow some of form of easing of restrictions of border control," he told reporters here at the ministry’s Covid-19 press briefing yesterday. 

Malaysia recorded only seven new cases of Covid-19 yesterday, six of which were imported cases of Malaysians returnees who contracted the virus from abroad. 

Meanwhile, Noor Hisham addressed the government's decision to no longer impose the mandatory 14-day quarantine at quarantine centres for Malaysian returnees from overseas.

He said the decision was made considering the high expenses incurred by the government by using hotels as quarantine centres.

Besides that, the number of imported cases in Malaysia was also considered to be low at this point.

"Seeing the low rate [of infections], we think it would be good if they can be quarantined at their homes, which is also accepted by the World Health Organization (WHO). 

"They will undergo quarantine at their homes, and we are going to monitor them as well," Noor Hisham added. 

Beginning April 3, Malaysians returning from abroad were brought straight to quarantine centres from the airport to undergo their compulsory 14-day quarantine at designated centres. 

Since then, Noor Hisham said the MoH had screened over 50,000 Malaysian returnees and only 554 were tested positive, or about 0.1%. 

Most cases were among Malaysians coming back home from Indonesia, with 256 cases, followed by Egypt (67), Saudi Arabia (46), and the UK (37). 

On Saturday, Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that Malaysians arriving in the country from overseas will no longer be required to undergo the mandatory quarantine at designated centres from today.

Instead, Malaysian returnees will undergo a test swab upon arrival and, if found positive, they would be sent to the hospital for treatment. 

However, if the test result is negative, Ismail Sabri said, they would have to undergo the mandatory 14-day self-quarantine at their respective homes, during which they will be monitored through the MySejahtera application.

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