Malaysia starts 'green bubble' discussion with Australia — Health DG

PUTRAJAYA (July 4): Preliminary discussions on the implementation of the ‘green bubble’ concept with Australia were held recently, said Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

He said earlier discussions had begun with Singapore and Brunei, while talks with Australia which began on Thurdsay would continue before arriving at a conclusion.

"We (the Ministry of Health) should look at the current situation in the respective countries and the SOP (standard operating procedure) that can be adopted in both countries," he said at a media conference here today.

He said this when asked on the development of discussions to implement the concept of 'green bubble' with other countries.

He said discussions were still underway and the implementation has not been finalised.

Talks with Singapore are on identifying the groups allowed and the matter will be announced later, he said.

The concept of ‘green bubble’ involves the easing of travel restrictions between two or more countries that record low local COVID-19 infection.

Previously, the Government had identified six countries for this purpose namely Singapore, Australia, Brunei, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea.

On the COVID-19 detection test fees required by MOH, Dr Noor Hisham explained that the fees would be imposed on those returning from overseas and those requesting for the test be carried out.

"Person under investigation (PUI), those under surveillance (PUS) and those who come to the clinic with Severe Acute Respiratory Infection (SARI) and Influenza Like Illness (ILI) as well as cases under the Enhanced Movement Control Order (ECMO) will not be charged. The cost will be borne by the Ministry of Health," he said.

On Sabah's decision to allow foreign workers from China to enter the State, Dr Noor Hisham said the entry of foreign nationals under the Employment Pass 1 (EP1) category into Malaysia was approved by the Immigration Department.

He said the allowed categories are those with long-term visas and those with interests such as business dealings who could be considered for EP1 visas.

However, Dr Noor Hisham said there are conditions for foreigners who are allowed in including a swab test and a 14-day quarantine at home.

As for foreign students who want to enter Malaysia, he said the matter is being studied and considered, but they would have to undergo a swab test and the 14-day quarantine. This also applies to overseas patients and the hospitals concerned must agree to accept them as patients, he said.

Dr Noor Hisham said the approval is one of the conditions for easing the conditions to enter Malaysia but the MOH's SOP should be adhered to.

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