Covid-19: Screening delay at KLIA due to too many passengers — health DG

PUTRAJAYA (Sept 28): The long waiting time for passengers from Sabah to undergo Covid-19 screening at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) is not due to a lack of Ministry of Health (MoH) staff but as a result of an overwhelming number of passengers.

Health director-general Tan Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said each passenger takes about 10 to 15 minutes, but their turn may take a long time when there are many passengers.

"Screening of passengers for each flight is at least two hours or more. If more than one flight arrives at the same time, the time taken would be much longer.

“The problem is due to an overwhelming number of passengers. So please wait and be patient,” he said in response to complaints and reports that passengers had to wait for up to six hours to take the Covid-19 screening test.

 When met after opening the 7th Malaysia Breast Care Nurse Meeting 2020 at the National Cancer Institute here today, Noor Hisham said the MoH had added 90 more personnel at the main terminal of KLIA and klia2, bringing the number of health personnel to 400.

On Saturday, Noor Hisham announced the requirement for individuals arriving from Sabah to undergo Covid-19 screening at the arrival gate from Sept 27 until Oct 10.

Noor Hisham, who also visited KLIA at 3am to 5am today, said the situation was under control and MoH staff were working double shifts for 16 hours.

According to him, the swab test is conducted via two methods — nasal and oral swabs — and passengers would then be tagged with wristbands, briefed on Covid-19 and actions they must take.

Noor Hisham said the results of the screening test on passengers from Sabah would be known in 24 to 72 hours.

"Those found positive would be sent to the hospital, while those tested negative but had exposure to positive cases would be quarantined for 14 days,” he said.

Asked whether the MoH would be giving any advice to Sabah as the election is over, Noor Hisham said subsequent measures for Sabah will be announced today.

On Covid-19 cases reported in several shopping centres in the Klang Valley, Noor Hisham said they could be due to individuals who were unaware that they were Covid-19 positive.

"When we received information [on Covid-19 cases] at shopping centres, the areas would be decontaminated as a preventive measure,” he said.

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